SC EMS association receives $ 350,000 boost from lawmakers during recruitment drive

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – The South Carolina EMS Association receives $ 350,000 in aid.

State lawmakers have included the one-time payment in the recently adopted budget.

The financial aid arrives while the association is trying to recruit 3,000 workers in the industry by April 2023.

RELATED STORY | SC EMS Association hires new executive director to help recruit 3,000 additional workers

As part of its push, the association created its first full-time executive director. The association’s leadership appointed Henry Lewis to the post in April.

“What we’re looking for are underemployed or unemployed people or those who may never have considered EMS as a profession. Overall, EMS has not done a very good job as an advocate for what we do and an ambassador for our industry. We think we have a lot of untapped potential workforce who just don’t know that EMS can be a career path.

The money goes through DHEC, and Lewis said the association doesn’t expect funding to be available until September.

Meanwhile, Lewis said the association is recruiting seriously. He said his team would start organizing four regional workshops in August to bring together EMS agencies, K-12 schools, technical colleges and other stakeholders.

He said the goal is to streamline the state’s ability to recruit and educate EMS workers. After the process was completed, he said the association was considering hiring a private marketing firm to spread the word.

“We’re great at EMS, that’s what we do. We make ambulance calls, we support EMS operations. We are not as good at marketing and we recognize that. I think it would be a disservice if we were to try to take this on our own, ”he said.

Lewis thanked several lawmakers for making the funding possible, including Sen. Michael Gambrell (R-Anderson).

EMS staffing isn’t a new issue, but Gambrell said the circumstances were different this year.

“We engaged our EMSs locally to contact their Senators and House Members and I think on top of that, let’s face it, we had some extra money this year,” he said.

Lewis said he would work to gather lessons and expertise from across all of SC’s first responder agencies on best recruiting practices.

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