Individuals interested in obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License are encouraged to do so to address the bus driver shortage in Pennsylvania.
To address the shortage, PennDOT mailed a letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, reaching out to approximately 376,000 individuals with CDLs to help connect interested drivers with school entities. The letter included information for a survey link for individuals who had an interest in exploring opportunities. To date, more than 1,3000 individuals have expressed an interest in serving as a school bus driver through the survey. They will now be contacted by their local school districts to discuss next steps in licensure.
“We want to do our part to encourage those looking for employment or supplemental income to consider obtaining a school bus endorsement to help get our children to school. That’s the critical part of all of this,” said PennDOT Deputy Secretary Kurt Myers. “We believe these efforts will help to ensure the safe and effective transportation of our commonwealth students.”
Additionally, PennDOT has temporarily opened CDL skills testing on Mondays through mid-November. Individuals may schedule a CDL skills test here or calling 717-412-5300.
“We know how challenging this year has been for our schools, communities and parents, and we know how important it is to form partnerships and pool resources in times of crisis,” said PDE Secretary Noe Ortega. “The Wolf Administration and the Pennsylvania School Bus Association stand committed to supporting our schools as they work to resolve these difficult transportation issues, and we encourage anyone interested in becoming a school bus driver to apply online.”
The Pennsylvania School Bus Association has been working to address the driver shortage as well through a multi-faceted Driver Recruitment Campaign, which has been running since July. The campaign includes the content microsite YouBehindTheWheel.com, which is designed to educate individuals on the school bus industry, walk them through the process of school bus driver training, and get them interested in applying. From there, the individual can access SchoolBusHero.com, a public job board that puts them in touch with local PSBA members who have vacancies. The PSBA is also running a digital ad campaign that encompasses Facebook, YouTube and the general internet. Email email@example.com or call 717-975-1951 for more information.
“The school bus industry has been hit hard by COVID-19, and the Pennsylvania School Bus Association appreciates PennDOT and PDE’s partnership in working through the school bus driver shortage,” said Ryan Dellinger, executive director of the PSBA. “Our only goal, at the end of the day, is to ensure that children are able to get to and from school safely on a daily basis.
“School bus drivers are a critical part of the education system and are the first and last interaction a child gets during the school day, which can be incredibly important for setting the tone of their day. Now more than ever, it is incredibly important that we tell their story and recognize them for what they really are – heroes.”