FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – In an economy struggling to hire new employees, the Three Rivers Ambulance Authority (TRAA) has seen an increase after months of staffing shortages.
The current EMT training class has 11 students who receive pay for their 40 hours per week, 10 week course. When they complete the EMT program, they are then be “promoted in the organization.”
“We are so short staffed that when these folks are released, that will actually be 1/5th of the work force,” said Joel Benz, executive director of TRAA.
In February or March of 2022, TRAA is hopeful that the program will see between 20 and 25 students per class.
In addition to new students, TRAA has worked with the union to allow previous full-time employees to return part-time. Benz said that roughly nine previous workers reapplied to work for TRAA within the last few days.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Councilwoman Michelle Chambers (At-Large) expressed her joy that TRAA has been able to hire more recruits and part-timers while many businesses seem to be struggling.
“In the present economy, I think it’s difficult to attend a one night a week class. But if they can come to class everyday for eight hours and you can be paid a reasonable wage to just go to class… it’s giving some folks the opportunity, because of childcare issues, to make the arrangement and do it,” said Michael Bureau, COO of TRAA.
One concern for many councilmembers over the past few months is the reliance on surrounding counties and cities’ ambulance companies. Benz said that while TRAA’s compliance hasn’t decreased, the communication has increased between each company.
“It’s a small world when you get in there, and all of those guys I have a good working relationship with. They understand what we’re doing. I’ve tried to communicate the process, and they all know. They’ve seen what’s been going on over a number of years. They understand. They’ve pretty much to a person been like, ‘you know, we’ll help you out. We’ll continue to do what we need to do for you as Fort Wayne City TRAA,” Benz said.
As things move forward, Benz said that assisting agencies feel things are also improving and are committed to helping TRAA as much as they can.
For anyone who would like to apply for a position with TRAA or to see open positions, click here.