- Kalamazoo Public Schools
- Alumni Stories
Malcolm Jones had a dramatic “aha” moment when it came to deciding what he wanted to do with his life.
“One day, I was driving to class on the highway, when I saw a semi slide on its side,” Jones said. “I was the first person to call 911 and to see if everyone was OK.
“I watched the ambulance come and saw that whole dynamic of helping people, and I realized that I had a curiosity for it, and I started to realize I have a passion for being an emergency medical service in general. That made me want to pursue a career as an EMT.”
As a KPS student, Jones attended Northglade Montessori Magnet School and Hillside Middle School before graduating from Kalamazoo Central High School in 2017. He is pursuing an associate’s degree in applied science at Kalamazoo Valley Community College and a bachelor’s degree in paramedic science through Siena Heights University.
But this career goal isn’t just something he’s thinking about — he’s already doing that work as a part-time EMT basic at Life EMS. He previously worked as a part-time firefighter for Kalamazoo Township.
He credits his high school experience with KRESA’s Education For Employment program for jump starting his career. When he was a student at KC, he learned about EFE, which offers students hands-on training in career and technical education. He started the health careers track as a senior.
He was already curious about what it might be like to work on an ambulance when he witnessed the accident on his way to school. He also dual enrolled in EMT courses at KVCC. It was too ambitious a course load and ultimately he failed his first national certification test.
Jones said that was an important lesson.
“I felt like I had let myself down. That I didn’t work hard enough, I didn’t take time to do what I really wanted to do,” Jones said. “But, at that moment I realized I was going to come back and do it all over again — and try a lot harder the next time.”
The next year, he passed the exam and began working as a technician in the emergency department at Bronson Methodist Hospital. He is coming up on his third anniversary as an EMT, and he still loves the work.
“My favorite part of the job is working with so many different types of people. I work with doctors, nurses, the police. You just have so many different interactions,” he said. “Plus, I like not knowing what will happen each day. You might be sitting in a parking lot not doing anything — then the next moment you might be the saving grace for someone’s day.”
After graduating from KVCC and Siena Heights, he hopes to become a senior paramedic with Life EMS. His five-year goal: to work as a firefighter-paramedic, His 10-year goal: to become a flight paramedic.
“I think it’s good to have goals but to also know that goals change,” he said. “As I worked as a paramedic, I got an idea of what I liked and what I wanted to do, but I also knew that I had to do it while I was young. I wouldn’t want to do it when I’m 30 or 40. I think that fast pace would be hard on the body. But it’s cool to do as a younger person.”
He encourages students to be willing to explore their options and opportunities until they find something that speaks to them.
“I have a true passion for what I do now,” he said. “When I clock into work, I’m excited for what the day brings. Some people don’t actually like their jobs. You should keep looking until you find what you like to do.”