HARRISBURG, PA — PennDOT Deputy Secretary Kurt Myers and Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Secretary Dr. Noe Ortega on Thursday joined the Pennsylvania School Bus Association to encourage interested individuals to obtain Commercial Driver’s License to address bus driver shortage in Pennsylvania.
“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 Myers. “We believe these efforts will help to ensure the safe and effective transportation of our commonwealth students.”
To address the shortage, PennDOT mailed a letter from PDE reaching out to approximately 376,000 individuals with Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL) to help connect interested drivers with school entities. The letter included information for a survey link for individuals who had an interest in exploring employment opportunities. To date, more than 1,300 individuals have expressed an interest in serving as a school bus driver through the survey. Those interested individuals will now be contacted by their local school districts to discuss next steps in licensure.
“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 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.”
Additionally, PennDOT has temporarily opened CDL skills testing on Mondays – for four weeks. This began this past Monday, October 18. CDL skills testing takes place at 23 locations throughout Pennsylvania. These additional testing appointments are intended to allow those who are interested increased opportunity to schedule time for a CDL skills test.
Individuals may schedule a CDL skills test by visiting PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website, selecting our Schedule a Driver’s Exam under Driver Vehicle Services, or they may call (717) 412-5300.
“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 though, it is incredibly important that we tell their story and recognize them for what they really are: heroes.
The Pennsylvania School Bus Association (PSBA) has been working to address the driver shortage as well, through a multi-faceted Driver Recruitment Campaign, which they have been running since July. This campaign includes a content microsite, YouBehindTheWheel.com, that is designed to educate individuals on the school bus industry, walk them through the process of school bus driver training, and to get them interested in applying. From there, the interested individual can access SchoolBusHero.com, which is a public job board that will put these people in touch with local PSBA members who have vacancies. In order to further drive audiences to these websites and raise public awareness of the school bus industry, the PSBA is currently running a digital ad campaign that encompasses Facebook, YouTube, and the general internet. For more information, please contact the PSBA Office at email@example.com or at (717) 975-1951.
The Pennsylvania School Bus Association consists of over 300 school transportation contractors and industry partners who have come together to be a strong voice for school transportation safety and the school transportation contracting industry. Its mission is to provide programs, education, and services to promote and foster the highest degree of safety in the transportation of school children and strengthen the quality of student transportation through professional management.