Michigan Works! Southwest Highlights Need for Bus Drivers
Kalamazoo RESA and local districts face critical shortage
Michigan Works! Southwest will feature Kalamazoo RESA as its Employer of the Day on Wednesday, January 13 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. The agency is looking for bus drivers to fill a critical shortage affecting students county-wide. Interested job-seekers should register online for the virtual event, where they will be able to easily submit their questions by text.
“Bus drivers are an essential part of our team, and critical to Kalamazoo RESA’s commitment to serve students, families, school districts and communities,” said Tom Zahrt, Kalamazoo RESA assistant superintendent. “We encourage anyone interested in this rewarding opportunity to connect with us through the Employer of the Day event on January 13.”
According to Kalamazoo RESA Transportation and Training Specialist Bill Dawson, Kalamazoo County schools need approximately 50 bus drivers. Statewide, schools are short more than 2,500 bus drivers, he said. An increasing number of retirements and the COVID-19 pandemic have contributed to the need for more drivers.
At Wednesday’s event, job-seekers can learn more about the requirements and perks of being a school bus driver. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and pass a drug and alcohol screening. A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is required, but training is free. And, some local school districts are offering incentives and signing bonuses, Dawson said.
“Driving a bus is a great career for someone who wants to be connected and stay involved with their local school,” said Dawson. He said many trainees sign on to supplement their retirement, or for the advantage of a school schedule. “If you have kids in school, you’re off when they’re off,” he said.