Tammy Wright (center) and fellow volunteer firefighters join together with Ivy Tech president Dr. Sue Ellspermann (far right) and Sen. Eric Koch (back row, far right) for a scholarship announcement at the Shawswick Township Volunteer Fire Dept. in Lawrence County.  

BLOOMINGTON – Tammy Wright, 51, enrolled at Ivy Tech Bloomington with just one week to go before classes started. When she applied to Ivy Tech, she had just learned that she could earn a tuition-free certification through Next Level Jobs Indiana, paid for by the Workforce Ready Grant. Wright decided it was the perfect opportunity for her to take that next step and become an EMT.

“There’s no way I would have done this if I had to pay tuition,” Wright said. “It just wouldn’t have been possible for me.”

Wright is a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical responder (EMR) at Shawswick Township Volunteer Fire Department in Lawrence County. By earning her emergency medical technician (EMT) industry certification, she knew she could make a difference for both the fire department and her patients. She could assist more as an EMT than in her EMR role, which she felt limited her service to patients. Wright was ready to do more.

“I hope to work for an ambulance service, and having earned my EMT certification opens more doors for me to work part time at neighboring Fire Departments as a paid firefighter,” she said.

Before Wright applied to Ivy Tech in Aug. 2019, she had been busy that year. She completed her high school diploma, not her GED. She also earned her fire 1 instructor, fire officer strategy and tactics, and CPR certifications.

“With Ivy Tech’s new Volunteer Firefighter grant that provides the opportunity to earn a free associate degree, I hope my story will inspire someone who has wanted to join the fire service but just hasn’t done it yet,” Wright said. “I hope they tell themselves they’ll join and get their education, and that if she can do it, so can I.”

In addition to Wright’s role at the Shawswick Volunteer Fire Department, she is also treasurer for the Indiana Volunteer Firefighter Association District 17B. She serves as treasurer for Lawrence Co. search and rescue.

Wright plans to take a break but more Ivy Tech classes may be in her future. Her EMT credits count toward an associate degree in the paramedic program.

“I know my options are now endless,” Wright said.

Classes start again at Ivy Tech on March 16. It’s not too late to apply for free and sign-up for classes. Visit ivytech.edu/applynow to get started, email bl-info@ivytech.edu, or call 812-330-6013.

For more information on tuition-free certification opportunities through Next Level Jobs Indiana, visit ivytech.edu/bloomington/nextleveljobs

For information on Ivy Tech’s Volunteer Firefighter Scholarship program, visit ivytech.edu/volunteer.

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.