20 New Paramedics to Graduate Tonight With Tuition Support from Governor’s Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan

Tuition support provided through Healthcare Training for ME, a Jobs Plan partnership to bolster Maine’s healthcare workforce

Auburn, MAINE – Twenty new paramedics from eight Maine counties will graduate tonight from the United Training Center in Lewiston after receiving tuition support from Healthcare Training For ME, an initiative of Governor Mills’ Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan to bolster Maine’s health care workforce.

The new paramedics are part of the Mills Administration’s Healthcare Training For ME initiative, which is funded through the Governor’s Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan. It is a partnership among the Maine Department of Labor, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, the Maine Department of Education, the Maine Community College System, and the University of Maine System that supports training costs for current and potential health care workers and connects workers to supports that ensure they can successfully complete professional training.

The 20 graduates completed United Training Center’s Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT) to paramedic program and represent the first class of graduates to utilize the tuition support. They will graduate at 6:30 tonight at the Hilton Garden Inn in Auburn. Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew and Maine Department of Labor Deputy Commissioner Kimberly Smith will deliver remarks at the graduation on behalf of the Mills Administration.

To date, more than 4,000 people are either now enrolled in healthcare workforce programs or have completed free or reduced cost training to begin or advance their health care careers through Healthcare Training for ME. Approximately 420 of these people have enrolled in the initiative’s tuition remission program, administered through the Maine Department of Labor. They are pursuing credentials in EMS and other needed healthcare fields like dental assisting, CNA, and behavioral health. EMS enrollments make up over 30 percent of participants in the program.

“With Healthcare Training for ME, we wanted to make it easier and more affordable for people to pursue careers in health care, to move up the career ladder into higher-paying jobs, and to strengthen our health care workforce in the long-run. Tonight’s graduates are proof that it’s working,” said Governor Janet Mills. “I am honored to congratulate these 20 new graduates, and I thank them for their dedication to serving their communities in these truly lifesaving jobs.”

“Strengthening Maine’s health care workforce is essential to ensuring that every Maine resident has access to quality, affordable health care,” said Jeanne Lambrew, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. “With help from the Governor’s Jobs Plan, these graduates are advancing their careers to pursuework that is truly transformative, life-saving, and meaningful. We congratulate them on their accomplishments and recognize their employers for supporting them as we continue partnerships like Healthcare Training for ME to bolster this vital field.”

“The Maine Department of Labor is committed to connecting individuals with quality jobs featuring family sustaining wages and opportunities to advance in their careers,” said Kimberly Smith, Deputy Commissioner of the Maine Department of Labor. “We heard loud and clear from the emergency medical services sector that our communities need more EMTs, AEMTs and Paramedics. We are proud to support people as they advance their career in this field. Congratulations to today’s graduates and their employers. I encourage other healthcare workers and employers to follow their lead and explore how programs such as Healthcare Training For ME can be used to upskill their staff and promote a workplace culture of advancement and opportunity.”

“The funding from the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan has been an incredible opportunity for our students,” said Susan Yurek, Program Director for United Training Center’s Paramedic Program. “Paramedic school is very challenging and them not having to worry about tuition payments certainly relieved some of the stress involved. We had several students who have many years of experience in EMS who were able to complete the course this year due to the tuition remission program.”

“It’s just a sense of gratitude, it just feels right going to work every day, and that’s pretty nice,” said Michael Allen, a firefighter with the Topsham Fire Department and one of the graduating paramedics. “I’ve been waiting all these years to become a paramedic, because I never had the money to do it. The tuition remission was a huge help. It was the right time and the right place, and it was just a huge accomplishment to be able to do it.”

Current or potential healthcare workers, and healthcare employers, may be eligible to access funding through the Healthcare Training For ME partnership. To identify what supports are available, please visit the partnership’s website or email HealthcareTrainingForME@maine.gov.

The Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan is the Governor’s plan, approved by the Legislature, to invest nearly $1 billion in Federal American Rescue Plan funds to improve the lives of Maine people and families, help businesses, create good-paying jobs, and build an economy poised for future prosperity.

Since the Jobs Plan took effect in October 2021, the Mills Administration has delivered direct economic relief to nearly 1,000 Maine small businesses, supported more than 100 infrastructure projects around the state to create jobs and revitalize communities, and invested in workforce programs estimated to offer apprenticeship, career and education advancement, and job training opportunities to 22,000 Maine people.

For more about Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, visit maine.gov/jobsplan.