LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Up to $8 million will soon be awarded to the Michigan EMT industry.

Emily Bergquist with the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, said the first round of money, which was $6 million, supported 450 paramedic students throughout the state and she imagines this money will help several hundred more.

“So, we know that what we see when we deploy this funding is that you have an increase in folks coming to school,” Bergquist said.

According to Bergquist, it’s difficult for a paramedic who wants to go to school and is working as an EMT to be able to afford $15,000 out of pocket.

Bergquist said this grant allows people to go to school without the financial burden and addresses what officials say is a critical shortage of paramedics statewide.

She said what makes this grant different is that it covers costs for education, which is not covered by traditional federal funding.

According to Bergquist, there is no decreasing need for urban and rural EMS, but they have seen a decrease in enrollment.

“It is amazing to see it recognized. I think for somebody who worked and continues to work with folks who really dedicate their lives to this service, it’s nice to see them recognized and understand that people do want to do this. We just have to help them get there,” Bergquist said.