Transportation Services offers free Commercial Driver’s License prep class

Transportation Services is working to address its driver shortage by offering free training for individuals who wish to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License.

The class for the license, also known as a CDL, is held Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Northwest Terminal (6351 Pinemont Drive) and is open to anyone interested in becoming an HISD bus driver until the start of the 2019-2020 school year.

“We would like them to join the HISD family and make this their home,” Transportation Services General Manager John Wilcots IV said.

The department, like other school districts and municipalities, is working to address a critical bus driver shortage and is currently seeking to add 75 more drivers to its current roster. This free CDL training is one in a series of strategies designed to address the issue.

One the department’s most recent strategies is the newly re-established internal recruiting team — 20 hand-picked, existing bus drivers who serve as ambassadors to promote HISD and encourage potential hires to apply.

Their duties include attending job fairs and other recruitment events and posting recruitment fliers in areas with high traffic, such as libraries, beauty shops, and restaurants. The team’s efforts have already resulted in 15 people enrolling in the CDL prep class.

Additionally, Transportation Services’ job fair last week resulted in five individuals being selected to move forward with the hiring process. All five applicants already possess their CDL.

As the department focuses on sustaining more efficient operations, Wilcots said he wants to remind parents of their essential role in achieving this goal.

“I’ve said it before and I’m going to keep saying it,” Wilcots said. “Please remind your students to use their bus badges.”

The Student Badge Program, which was launched last fall, requires bus riders to scan a bus badge as they embark and disembark, allowing the district — and parents who sign up for a notification service — to track when and where students get on and off their school bus. The data received from the student badge program is used to help the department in bus scheduling and routing.