JobsNOW: School bus drivers are still in demand


The first face a child sees on the way to school, and the last one after school is the bus driver

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Not every school is closed, and one hole in the labor market is bus drivers. Some districts still need them.

The first face a child sees on the way to school, and the last one after school is the bus driver.
The Mahoning County Board of Developmental Disabilities needs more drivers, who do more than just drive.

“Our students have a variety of different disabilities, so it involves wheelchair lifts and securing wheelchairs onto buses and working those lifts to get them on and off,” said Gina Symsek, principal at Leonard Kirtz School.

The logistical requirements include helping students with different behaviors, so they have different ways to be secured with a harness or a seat belt. And secondary requirements are important. Drivers need to have heart and be able to take the time to understand how each student responds.

“We have a lot of students who are non-verbal, some that are behavioral, so we also need to make sure people have that compassion and component to what we do,” Symsek said.

Drivers must pass background checks and not be listed on an abuse registry. They also need a Class B CDL license with School Bus and Passenger Endorsements.

The bus driver works a split shift between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., and the pay is over $18 an hour. There are benefits available, and probably the biggest is getting to be around some pretty neat children and adults.

“Any positions in schools, especially a school like ours, is very rewarding because you get that opportunity to be with some really unique and bright kids,” Symsek said.

Applications can be submitted online and additional job searches within the Mahoning County Board of Developmental Disabilities can also be viewed on the agency’s website.

JobsNOW is a joint initiative between WKBN and the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber.

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