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La Joya and Palmview approve affiliation agreements for EMT training

La Joya and Palmview plan to partner with a vocational program to train emergency medical technicians.

The La Joya City Council and the Palmview City Council approved affiliation agreements with RGV Vocational Services during meetings on Monday and Tuesday. Under the agreements, students may ride along with EMTs on local ambulances — a requirement to become licensed by the state.

“They might do some of the basic, basic procedures, which are your vitals,” said paramedic Christopher De Leon, who serves as the compliance officer for the La Joya Fire / EMS Department. “If the scene is controlled, they can do a quick patient assessment.”

De Leon said that students may start accompanying La Joya Fire / EMS paramedics in September or October, depending on when the students begin taking classes.

“Usually they start doing their ride-alongs toward the end of the class, when they have, already, the lecture part,” De Leon said. “And then they’re ready for the ride-alongs.”

The partnership, which doesn’t cost the cities anything, will allow local students to become EMTs without leaving western Hidalgo County.

“They don’t have to pay anything,” said Elias Macias Jr., the president of RGV Vocational Services. “And we don’t have to pay them for anything.”

RGV Vocational Services provides job training programs to schools throughout Texas, Elias Macias Jr. said, including campuses in Rio Grande City, Mission, Austin, Houston, Corpus Christi and Laredo.

The company provides training for students who want to become medical assistants, patient care technicians and phlebotomists. Elias Macias Jr. said the new affiliation agreements will allow the company to provide EMT courses too.

“They can’t complete the EMT program unless they do those ride-alongs,” Elias Macias Jr. said. “It’s part of the course.”

While entry-level EMT positions don’t pay well, they’re always in demand. They also provide a starting point for careers in emergency medicine and firefighting.

The La Joya City Council approved the affiliation agreement on Monday.

City Councilwoman Laura Mendiola Macias, who is married to Elias Macias Jr., abstained from the discussion and didn’t vote on the agreement.

Laura Mendiola Macias and Elias Macias Jr. also submitted conflict-of-interest disclosure paperwork on April 11, six days before the City Council voted.

“I think it was important for the community to know that we’ve abided by all the rules,” Laura Mendiola Macias said.

The Palmview City Council approved the agreement on Tuesday.

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