FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Three Rivers Ambulance Authority (TRAA) is entering a new era as they get closer to hitting their hiring goal of 80 full-time employees.

They also have officially parted ways with their prior contractor and recently approved a $5 raise for paramedics and EMTs.

This, in addition to other raises across the board, have given TRAA hope that they can get back on track to hit their employment goal next year.

“I think we’ve put the pieces in place to get us there,” said Joel Benz, TRAA’s executive director. “It takes a long time to turn a big ship, so we’re starting to see some turning, but it doesn’t feel like the weight is off our shoulders yet.”

Benz says that a big part of getting to their goal by next year will be the new earn-to-learn program.

The program pays $11 while the candidates are in training.

“It’s a great opportunity to get paid to learn and then come out and have a job that’s very satisfying,” said Benz. “When those folks graduate, we will be at full staff I think.”

Right now, TRAA reports that they have 50 of the 80 full-time staff they’re looking for, and they have around 25 people currently signed up for the upcoming earn-to-learn program.

Information about registering in the earn-to-learn program can be found on TRAA’s website.