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Hudson Valley Community College and Schenectady County Community College Partner on Paramedic-EMT Course

Eric Bryant, Assistant Director of Communications and Marketing, HVCC, 629-8072
Heather Meaney, Public Relations Specialist, SCCC, 381-1250
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2006

Local firefighters and paramedics are benefiting from a new partnership between Schenectady County Community College and Hudson Valley Community College.

The community colleges are joining together to offer videoconferencing of Hudson Valley\'s Paramedic-EMT classes at the Schenectady college\'s campus.

This venture benefits Hudson Valley Paramedic-EMT students who might live in the western part of the Capital District and find it difficulty to travel to Troy each day.

"We have a significant population of students who come from the Amsterdam or Gloversville area and we figure this will save them about three hours of driving each week," Hudson Valley Paramedic Program Coordinator Greg Chapman said. "It seems like a natural that we would link with SCCC because of their Fire Science program."

Administrators at both colleges have been searching for a way to complement each other\'s efforts. The videoconferencing is possible because both schools have state-of-the-art videoconferencing technology.

"This is an effort between two community colleges to rise above competition to work toward the betterment of our community and our first responders. We want to reach out to partners in the community in a cost-effective way, but not duplicate programs. By working together, we are offering the right training in our community and also saving taxpayers money," said Dr. David Hennessy, Chair of the SCCC Business and Law Department.

The Paramedic students will still come to the Hudson Valley campus for hands-on courses and attended clinical rounds at a local hospital, Chapman said.

Firefighters from local battalions including those in Schenectady, Niskayuna, Amsterdam, Scotia and Gloversville, have taken advantage of the venture, first offered at both colleges in Fall 2005.

Richard DePasquale, Chief and Training Officer with the City of Amsterdam Fire Department, brought the two institutions together after his department was looking for a site for videoconferencing. He has served as an Adjunct Faculty Member at SCCC, developing the National Incident Management Safety course on the campus, along with Dr. Hennessy.

The Hudson Valley Paramedic program has been using interactive videoconferencing to reach students in outlying regions for about five years. Previous linkages have sent the coursework to Glens Falls and Rutland, VT.

Chapman said the two schools are also talking about receiving some of SCCC\'s Fire Science courses at the Troy campus to accommodate students in Rensselaer County interested in that program.

SCCC has offered a Fire Protection Technology A.A.S. degree program since the mid-1970s. It is the only program of its kind in the Capital Region. Enrollment in the program has steadily increased since its inception. The college also offers a Fire Science Certificate program. Enrollment in the Fire Protection Technology degree program and Fire Science Certificate program has increased 72 percent from the past three years (Fall 2002, Fall 2003, and Fall 2004) to Fall 2005.

Hudson Valley has offered a Paramedic-EMT certificate program since 1988. In 2000, the college began offering an associate\'s degree in Paramedic, which allows high school students to enter directly into the program. Previously, those entering the program would be required to be certified as Emergency Medical Technicians prior to entering the Paramedic course. More than 1,400 students have graduated from either the certificate or degree program since its inception.

Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 60 degree and certificate programs in four schools: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Science; and Liberal Arts and Sciences; and an Educational Opportunity Center for academic and career training. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 12,000 students, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and workforce training. Hudson Valley has more than 60,000 alumni.