SMCAS receives $330,000 grant for paramedic education

Published 3:17 pm Tuesday, July 25, 2023

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN — A local organization will be able to bolster its roster to better provide life-saving treatments thanks to a state program.

The Southwest Michigan Community Ambulance Service was awarded a $330,000 Emergency Medical Services workforce grant from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to provide funding for enhancing and training of 11 new Michigan EMS workforce personnel.

The focus of the program is to continue and expand the workforce development program used for training people in EMS. The intent is to address the critical shortage of paramedics statewide and increase accessibility through barrier reduction to enrollment in EMS education programming, specifically paramedic programs, in Michigan.

The grant will pay for tuition for each student as well as hourly reimbursement for time spent in EMS training programs, at a rate of $15/hour, up to a maximum of $16,000 per paramedic student.

SMCAS is a non-profit, municipally-owned and operated advanced life support ambulance service that has provided 24/7 emergency response in Southwest Michigan since 1976, serving residents within the Cities of Buchanan and Niles, as well as Buchanan, Niles, Howard, Bertrand, Milton and Pokagon Townships.

According to SMCAS Executive Director Brian Scribner, SMCAS partnered with Medic 1 Ambulance for the program. SMCAS applied for the grant and Medic 1 provided the medic program, which Scribner said is expected to be completed in October. In addition to SMCAS’ 11 students, Van Buren Emergency Medical Services also received grant monies to provide  tuition for medical training and pay for 10 students, meaning 21 new medics will be added to local ambulance services.

“It means we will have more qualified people,” Scribner said. “These folks in this class are experienced EMTs. and will be qualified to serve the community. 21 new medics in our area is a significant infusion of people and it’s something that we need. We’re excited about it.”