CLEVELAND (WJW) – With Cleveland’s EMS staffing levels in critical condition, a major recruitment plan was announced.

“Our biggest problem was getting paramedics through our door, and this gives paramedics with a year’s experience a big bump from $16 an hour. It’s almost a $12 increase,” said Mark Barrett, president of the union representing Cleveland EMS workers.

Experienced paramedics will now be brought in at $27.59 an hour.

The change, now in effect, is one of many that the union, along with Mayor Justin Bibb, agreed upon to help boost recruitment.

Right now, Cleveland is down 28 EMS workers.

“A lot of these suburbs are cherry picking our people, even going out of state. People are going out of state,” said Barrett.

According to the FOX 8 I-Team, the city’s EMS shortage has caused delays in getting paramedics to life-and-death emergencies.

“Our hope is now that we have this that we get paramedics. I believe our last academy had just one,” said Barrett.

According to Barrett, the city’s paramedic academy will now take less time. Before, it used to be 12 weeks plus a month of ride time. Now, It will be six to eight weeks.

Also part of the agreement is 12 weeks of paid parental leave, along with new ambulances and new equipment.

Mayor Bibb added in a statement Tuesday, “We took a hard look at how we provide EMS within Cleveland and are excited to roll out these innovative recruitment strategies and substantial investments in the latest life-saving equipment.”