8News behind-the-wheel: Get an inside look at Henrico school's "Drive the Bus" job fair this weekend

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Ever thought about getting behind the wheel of a bus for the next stop in your career? Henrico County is in desperate need of drivers for this fall semester and you can test drive a bus at a job fair this weekend.

The Henrico County Public School ‘Drive the Bus’ job fair this weekend can give you a chance to try out driving a bus before you apply — and this is just one way you can make a difference for local students.

Henrico Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Amy Cashwell got the chance to drive a bus for the first time on Thursday.

“As many times as I’ve been on a school bus, and a lot — I have never been in the driver’s seat,” Cashwell said. “From the curious to the seriously interested, I hope we get a range of folks to come out and see what it’s all about to drive a bus with Henrico Schools.”

She said there is an exceptional need for drivers this year and Director of Pupil Transportation Jim Ellis agrees.

“We have one hundred vacancies,” Ellis said. “On average, we have about fifty during the year. So it has doubled since the pandemic occurred.” 

Elllis said bus drivers can make an impact on a child’s life early on.

“We’re the first people a child sees in the morning when they get on the bus,” Ellis said. “We greet them in the morning and say goodbye to them in the afternoon.”

8News Reporter Tyler Thrasher got the chance to test-drive a bus himself.

With an instructor, you get to drive around a set course and learn all the job duties of a bus driver.

During the event, job seekers can learn more about the job, benefits and pay. There will be opportunities to interview for openings. The school district will provide paid training for any new hires.

Ellis said it takes a strong soul to do the job.

“They don’t think they can do it. But once they do it, and they’re in — they say ‘I don’t know why I didn’t do it before,'” he said.

The event is Saturday, July 24 at Hermitage High School in the parking lot near the school’s Chester E. Fritz stadium from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

All you need is a valid driver’s license and you are suggested to wear a mask if you are not vaccinated.

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