Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration is encouraging those who may be interested to apply for commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) to help address the current shortage of school bus drivers.

Administration officials with the state departments of transportation and education held a press conference in Harrisburg Thursday to discuss the ongoing efforts to find more drivers.

“We want to do our part to encourage those looking for employment or supplemental income to consider obtaining a school bus endorsement to help get our children to school. That’s the critical part of all of this,” said PennDOT Deputy Secretary Kurt Myers. “We believe these efforts will help to ensure the safe and effective transportation of our commonwealth students.”

PennDOT mailed a letter to about 376,000 Pennsylvanians with CDLs which included a link to survey those interested in working as a school bus driver. Myers said the survey yielded 1,300 responses.

PennDOT has also opened CDL skills testing on Mondays, beginning this past Monday, for four weeks at 23 locations throughout Pennsylvania, including Uniontown, Waynesburg and Greensburg.

A test can be scheduled on PennDOT’s website or by calling 717-412-5300.

“We know how challenging this year has been for our schools, communities, and parents, and we know how important it is to form partnerships and pool resources in times of crisis,” said education Secretary Noe Ortega. “The Wolf Administration and the Pennsylvania School Bus Association stand committed to supporting our schools as they work to resolve these difficult transportation issues, and we encourage anyone interested in becoming a school bus driver to apply online.”

Ryan Dellinger, executive director of the Pennsylvania School Bus Association, was also on hand to discuss their recruitment efforts.

“I want to be sure to impress upon all of you that school bus drivers are a critical part of the education system, and can set the tone for a child’s entire day at school. In some situations, these bus drivers may be the first friendly adult that the child sees that day,” Dellinger said.

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