The Apple Bus Co. held an open hiring event Wednesday to help combat national driver shortage trends.

The bus company has been working to fully staff its St. Joseph location after taking on both early learning and special-education transportation efforts from the St. Joseph School District earlier this year. Since then, Apple has run into issues with scheduling its services.

The St. Joseph School District is working with Apple to resolve those issues, and Wednesday’s recruiting efforts are part of that plan.

“We’re developing and currently executing a very robust recruiting plan, so we certainly anticipate having more of these events similar to today. The more good people we get behind the wheel of a school bus, the better off our community is going to be,” Apple Bus’ Director of Safety Shawn Woods said. “Student transportation is the name of the game for us. Most of the applicants that come in here and do have a passion for kids, and yes, that’s our primary focus: safety and caring about the transportation of kids.”

Those who have a Class F driver’s license can be trained up to a Class B with a CDL school bus endorsement through Apple Bus. The process takes about three weeks in order for a driver to get behind the wheel of a school bus to start transporting kids.

When asked whether Missouri Western students could take advantage of such job opportunities, Woods said the Missouri Department of Transportation has a minimum age for an individual to receive a commercial driver’s license, though most juniors, seniors and nontraditional students could apply.

Woods added that the part-time job often has drivers working split shifts.

“It’s challenging to find folks that can make that schedule work for them, but we’re up to the challenge,” Woods said. “It’s a complicated problem; that’s why it’s nationwide, across school districts, contractors, everybody. But we are focused in St. Joe, on getting our driver levels and monitor levels up to where they need to be.”

Should interested parties not be available for upcoming recruiting efforts, Woods said they can reach out to the bus company by phone at 816-273-0041, through email or other forms of media, as the company is advertising the job on websites like Indeed.com.

Daniel Cobb can be reached

at daniel.cobb@newspressnow.com.

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