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Milwaukee school bus company desperate to fill driver jobs

Posted at 10:06 PM, Aug 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-23 06:21:06-04

If they haven’t returned to school already, most students in Southeast Wisconsin will be back to school in less than two weeks.

The time is ticking and Milwaukee’s Lamers Bus Lines is still looking to fill about 25 school bus driver jobs.

Lamers serves three school districts in Southeast Wisconsin, Milwaukee Public Schools, St. Francis School District and Cudahy School District. The company admits people just aren’t applying for school bus driver jobs. 

“This week total, between able to come in, or apply online, we’ve had maybe three applications,” said Becky Knaack, with Lamers. 

Another challenge for Lamers is finding qualified candidates. Knaack said some people who apply don’t pass the pre-employment drug test, or they don’t have a clean driving record, others fail the written tests they have to take at the DMV.

“A lot of people just come in and think they can just go out and drive a bus. They end up spending at least 20 hours behind the wheel with a trainer in a bus,” Knaack said.

To attract applicants, Lamers held a job fair earlier this month and is offering a $2,000 sign on bonus. The company also said another benefit to being a driver is parents who get hired can bring their kids with them to work and ride the bus route with them. 

If Lamers Bus Lines can’t fill the bus driver spots, the company will have to rely on office staff to do the job. 

“We’ll keep covering it with mechanics, office staff and just do the best that we can,” said Knaack. 

Worst case scenario, Lamers said there is a possibility bus routes would have to change if they still can’t fill the spots. But Knaack said that would be up to the school districts they serve, not them.