‘We see our drivers as our heroes’: RPS looks to fill school bus driver positions

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 6:31 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The demand for school bus drivers is growing in Richmond as school leaders prepare for the start of the school year on Sept. 8.

The school district says they have 25 vacant positions to fill. This summer, they anticipate this number to grow to 40.

“This is a large number as we’re getting ready for the next school year,” said Helen Mickens-DeMena, director of talent acquisitions for Richmond Public Schools. “It’s definitely concerning for us and we’re working to fix that.”

Mickens-DeMena says this bus driver shortage is happening nationwide because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It has truly impacted school districts everywhere’s ability to hire and retain bus drivers,” she said.

The school district says they’re trying to recruit new drivers by connecting with community organizations and the Virginia Employment Commission.

The district will also hold a job fair at Arthur Ashe Center on Saturday.

“We will have on the spot interviews and our hope is to be able to give offers the same day,” said Mickens-DeMena.

The school district says they’re looking for people who are at least 21 or older with a clean driving record and a passion for children.

Mickens-DeMena says these bus drivers will not only give kids a ride to and from school but also deliver meals to those who choose to stay at home for virtual learning.

“We are totally committed to making sure we have a fully staffed fleet of school bus drivers ready to go for the start of the school year to bring our students to school every day safely and to return them home every day safely,” she said. “We see them as heroes in the community.”

Mickens-DeMena says applicants don’t need prior experience driving for schools.

The bus driver job fair at Arthur Ashe Center will take place this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. For more information, click here.

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