LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s been an exciting night for the friends and family of LCC’s first paramedic class made up of all women.
The six ladies celebrated with other EMS graduates as agencies around the state and country need more trained lifesavers.
“When you’re in it, you’re in it. And I think our focus is just to get through what we are getting through and not until we get out of it do we get a chance to breathe and realize how monumental this was,” said Charnay Gloss.
Gloss was one of the more than a dozen students that graduated as paramedics from Lansing Community College’s EMS program.
She’s also with the Lansing Fire Department, which supported her in getting her paramedic training. She joined the line of graduates that included six students who made up the program’s all-women part-time class.
Both instructors and college leaders acknowledged the hard work and sacrifices students have made, especially the all-women class who balanced work, school and home.
As the lead instructor, Angela Kohls knew the struggle well.
“They are a very gifted group of young women who not only worked in the field while going through their program, and also many of them have family and had to attend to their needs too all while putting in the work to be paramedics which is not easy,” said Kohls.
The milestone at LCC comes at a critical time for staffing in the EMS field.
Angela Madden, the executive director of the Michigan Association of Ambulance Services said last year, 1,000 job openings were left unfilled at both the EMT and paramedic level.
She said working conditions, work-life balance and longer shifts are driving the shortage, but improving wages, offering training and childcare incentives could help bring in more students.
With more graduates, Madden says the situation could turn around. Madden said milestones like Wednesday’s LCC gradation are a big step in both creating representation and role models for other people interested in the field.