Beating the bus driver shortage in Boise
BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) —
You've heard the reports. School district after school district after school district, all trying to find people to drive their buses.
Suzi Quaintance, First Student Inc.'s Program Manager says, "It probably really peaked this year due to the really low unemployment rate here in Boise, at three percent there are plenty of jobs. A little more difficult to recruit quality people."
First Student Inc., the company that serves the Boise School District, got creative.
They began offering signing bonuses to those they hired, even offering opportunities to help employees get their commercial drivers license.
"We have actually, on paper, have enough drivers at this point. Our driver pool has increased by 15 people," Quaintance says.
One of those drivers hired since August is Quade Cole.
Cole says, "I started about a month and a half ago. The interview process was amazing. It was great. It just felt like a really great atmosphere. One big reason I wanted to do it is that I have a four year old son and he wanted to ride the bus. So I thought 'what a perfect idea!' Why not get my CDL and start driving bus and see where it goes."
On top of helping with getting your CDL, First Student also offers flexible scheduling and, like Quade, the opportunity to have your child ride along with you on routes.
"I've never felt more at home in a work type situation itself than what First Student has given me. Rider (Quade's son) actually got to ride with me yesterday he was with me all day long. We got up at 4 a.m. and got here, got on the bus and we went on our a.m. route, midday route and p.m. route. And he was actually kind of like my backup monitor in a way. He would tell me 'hey dad, someone's standing up in the back of the bus' so we would address that, and he just has a blast."
First Student is always hiring. Right now those with a CDL can receive a $1,500 signing bonus and those without will receive $1,000 and the opportunity to get their CDL pending a background check.
"Anybody considering being a bus driver knows that the safety is a huge thing here. We have the most precious cargo that we take care of and we need to make sure that they are safe at all times."