Bus drivers still needed, despite successful summer of recruitment

The Rochester location of First Student busing company tells us how their summer of recruiting new drivers is going.

Posted: Aug 13, 2019 9:29 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - It's no secret Minnesota is seeing a statewide shortage in school bus drivers, the Rochester area included.

At the beginning of summer, the Med-city location of busing company, First Student, needed 10 new bus drivers.

Now, with the start of school inching closer, the summer has proven to be a successful season of recruitment.

"We've tested and trained seven drivers already and I have four drivers that are training behind the wheel. I have an additional four doing classroom work before they get behind the wheel, and I got 12 of them working on their permits in order to get in the classroom," Jon Goetz, location manager at First Student in Rochester, said. "We want to be proactive, hire as many good people for the students here in Rochester."

Goetz attributes the successful recruiting season to offering higher wages. In addition to a $3,000 sign on bonus, drivers will make $20/hr.

He also said they got creative with advertising like putting banners on giant buses and reaching out to potential employees at community events like the Olmsted County Fair.

And while they have a good supply of drivers for the start of school, they still want more.

"We are always looking for good school bus drivers," Goetz said. "We really want to encourage the public that if you've thought of driving a school bus, get in here. Because we're always looking for good people."

The bus company is getting ready for the start of school by giving drivers their routes, buses, and making sure their licenses are good to go.

"We don't want anything unexpected to happen the day of school. So, we want to be very proactive," Goetz said.

The company has 29 new buses this school year to help bus the 13,000 kids their responsible for in Rochester.

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