Horry County Schools host job fair in hopes to fill bus drivers, janitors vacancies

Published: Jul. 26, 2023 at 8:57 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - It’s less than a month until Horry County schools start the new year, and the district is dealing with a shortage in a critical position, bus drivers.

There are dozens of vacancies when it comes to school bus drivers. Horry County school leaders said school bus drivers are like welcome centers. They’re the first people to see students, and typically the last before they’re dropped off.

The only problem this school year is making sure there’s enough staffing across the district. On Wednesday, the district held a hiring event to fill vacancies.

There are currently 308 school bus drivers across the district. School leaders told WMBF News, they still need to fill an additional 80 positions. It’s a challenge some aspiring drivers said they’re willing to meet.

“It feels good because I like helping people, I like helping special kids,” said Dwight Jowdy, a recently retired Horry County resident.

District officials said applicants just need a commercial driver’s license and will go through about three weeks of training before getting behind the wheel.

Director of Communications for Horry County Schools, Lisa Bourcier, said the cost of the CDL would be paid for along with training.

“School bus drivers are really our school ambassadors,” she said. “They are the first welcoming faces that they see in the morning, early in the morning getting on the bus to start their school day, and the last face that they see when they return from school back home, so it’s important that we have great employees.”

Officials said they’re also looking to hire custodians, something Aleshia Pierce, a North Carolina resident feels is the right job for her.

“It takes somebody strong and willing and committed to do it, I think I’m that one,” said Pierce.

Parents across the district are also happy to see the initiative to make sure their child’s school system is well-staffed all around.

“When you put the responsibility and care of your child in another adult’s hand, just knowing that we’ve got the best out there,” said Jessamyn Hilton, an Horry County parent. “So the Horry County just holding this job fair reaching out to the community, you know, just anyone that can get involved and we can get the best drivers for our kids.”

Bourcier said she wants to also remind parents to be patient during the first several weeks of school for everyone to get adjusted to traffic, new bus routes, and carpooling.

Those interested in working as a custodian or bus driver in the district can apply here.