The shortage of E.M.T.s needed to serve Maine’s rapidly aging population has created a bit of a crisis in the state, but an unusual program is turning that crisis into opportunity for underemployed immigrants with a medical background.

Southern Maine Community College is training immigrants to become emergency medical technicians.

“This program is a win-win-win,” said David Zahn, chairman of the global languages department at the community college, which started the program.

He said he basically put two and two together. Surveys showed that employers needed more E.M.T.s; other surveys showed that many immigrants are underemployed and have medical backgrounds.

When the E.M.T. course for immigrants was announced, three times as many people applied as could be accommodated.

SOURCE:, March 27, 2017