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State urging CDL holders to become school bus drivers

The Pennsylvania Department of Education is hoping to fill the bus drivers' seats with licensed drivers.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — Thousands of people across the state have received letters encouraging drivers to pick up part-time work driving school buses. Like many other industries, there is a worker shortage.

"I never thought we'd have to deal with this," said Janelle Davison. "I was always fully staffed and then some. Never saw this one coming."

Davison is the terminal manager of Student Transportation of America in Wilkes-Barre. She says this year, especially in the beginning, has been rough.

"Things started to change mid-September. I don't know if it was the sign-on bonus or if it was the ending of the extra money with the unemployment that had a lot to do with it. We saw a lot of hits coming through our online ads. We've also done some job fairs and an open house here, that helped."

But right now, the company is spread thin.

"I go to sleep every night hoping my phone doesn't ring at 5:30 in the morning. I do not want those call-offs, but it happens. Life goes on. We need to work with that, and it's not always easy, but we make it work."

If you have a CDL but no experience driving school buses, there is a $500 sign-on bonus and paid training.

"We don't skimp on training at all. We will you get the full amount of training. We're not just going to put you behind the wheel."

"If you are an experienced school bus driver, STA is offering a $2,500 sign-on bonus, which is pretty uncommon for a part-time job, according to Davison.

"This is a big deal to the parents too. You know, they're having a hard time getting special education children back and forth to school, and they need the structure; they need to be in the classroom. So, by sending out that letter, there may be a retired CDL holder, who was a truck driver, and just want something to do on the side. This is the perfect job for them to work a few hours in the morning, have your days free, work a few hours in the afternoon. It's the perfect job."

If you are interested in a part-time position as a school bus driver with STA, which has terminals all over our area, you can find more information here.

📣 Calling all Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders! You may be qualified to serve your community as a school bus...

Posted by Pennsylvania Department of Education on Tuesday, October 5, 2021