D49 in El Paso County looking to hire school bus drivers, letting candidates test-drive on Friday
PEYTON, Colo. (KKTV) - A school district in Colorado is trying something new to find the best candidates when it comes to bus drivers.
D49 says it will implement a first-of-its-kind recruiting effort for the district this Friday by allowing candidates to test-drive a school bus.
“We’re excited,” Jack Pietraallo the Director of Transportation for D49 said. “We really think once someone gets a sense of how approachable driving a bus is, they’ll be that much more confident about joining our team and making a difference in the lives of kids in their community.”
The test-drive event is scheduled for this Friday, June 9 at Falcon High School from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Candidates must be at least 23 years old and have a driver’s license. Candidates will be supervised by a certified trainer.
Click here for job openings at D49.
The full news release from D49 can be read below:
Facing an ongoing shortage of drivers and extended reduction in service, the D49 transportation department is looking at attracting new candidates while investing in its current corps of drivers. To build the confidence of prospective drivers, the transportation team will also give candidates a chance to test-drive a D49 bus, a first-of-its-kind recruiting effort for the district.
“One of the biggest hurdles we see among potential drivers is overcoming the idea that driving a school bus is intimidating,” said Jack Pietraallo, director of transportation. “We have drivers on staff today who never saw themselves handling such a high-profile vehicle and changed their minds within minutes of getting behind the wheel.”
D49 needs dozens of drivers to restore routes and services to meet demand in the fastest growing district in the state of Colorado. Current projections show the transportation department will begin the 2023-2024 school year with reduced routes due to the current staffing level. The extended reduction in service comes closely on the heels of adjustments D49 had to make during the COVID-19 pandemic, which included reducing and combining routes, cutting most transportation for extra-curricular activities, and canceling many field trips.
“We haven’t managed to build our team of drivers to where we need to be to offer the service our families deserve,” Pietraallo added. “No matter how we slice it, our families will feel the pain and will have to plan for the inconvenience if we cannot hire more drivers.”
The offer to test-drive a bus is part of a two-pronged approach to encourage more drivers to join the team. As of July, D49 is providing a major pay increase for new and existing drivers, improving base pay for entry-level driver positions starting from $20-$22 per hour.
“Training new drivers is a process that takes time,” Pietraallo explained. “The good news is, we compensate our new hires through the entire process.”
D49 drivers receive a benefits package that includes a signing bonus of up to $1,000 that begins upon obtaining a commercial driver’s license (CDL). New drivers take home hourly pay during training, which includes CDL certification.
The test-drive event is scheduled for:
-Friday, June 9
-Falcon High School - 10255 Lambert Rd Peyton, CO 80831
-9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Drivers must be at least 23 years old and have a valid driver’s license. (Drivers will be supervised by a certified trainer)
“We’re excited,” Pietraallo said. “We really think once someone gets a sense of how approachable driving a bus is, they’ll be that much more confident about joining our team and making a difference in the lives of kids in their community.”
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