Bus company offers incentives as they search for school bus drivers

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee Public Schools canceled 160 bus routes last spring as students went back to school.

Now there is an effort underway to prepare for school starting up in the fall. One local bus company is trying to get ahead of the need for drivers.

First Student has a lot full of buses, now they just need people to drive them.

"We need drivers, people that care about the community, have a mindset of safety and want to be part of a wonderful work family," said Samuel Brown, the location manager for First Student's new location in Milwaukee. 

He says First Student is looking for 100 bus drivers to fill contracts.

One of those contracts is Milwaukee Public Schools. 

The return to in-person learning means drivers will be back behind the wheel.

 "We're collaborating with the school district for ideas. We're being optimistic that we will achieve our goal," said Brown.

Friday, July 16, the buses were the backdrop of a unique hiring event. 

First Student had fun activities and on-the-spot interviews. 

Dallas Williams was there to apply.

"CDL training is free," said Williams. "CDL you can take wherever you go."

It was the incentives and the pay that brought out Williams.

"$20.50 an hour is a nice chuck of change," said Williams.

That's a dollar more than First Student paid drivers previously. 

They're also offering $2,500 sign-on bonuses for people with experience and $1,000 for people with no experience. 

"We're being creative and we're meeting the needs for the people," said Brown.  As a company, we have to do something to accommodate people. People say I have my kids, I can’t drive the bus. Well, we’re understanding that so we’re allowing them to bring the kids to work.” 

MPS contracts out eight different bus companies for schools buses throughout the district. 

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