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Company offers $7,000 signing bonus for school bus drivers amid shortage in Connecticut

The driver shortfall isn’t new, but a labor shortage across many sectors and the pandemic’s lingering effects have made it worse.

SOUTH WINDSOR, Conn. — Editor's Note: The video above is from Aug. 31, 2021.

A local bus company is offering a $7,000 signing bonus in South Windsor amid a growing national school bus driver shortage.

DATTCO, which contracts bus and coach drivers across the state, is offering the bonus for licensed school bus drivers who join the team to get students to and from school.

The incentive comes as school districts across the state are struggling to cover bus routes in the first weeks of the school year.

Last month, bus routes in Hamden were canceled on the first day of school, sending parents into a frenzy.

However, the driver shortfall isn’t new, but a labor shortage across many sectors and the pandemic’s lingering effects have made it worse, since about half the workforce was over 65 and more vulnerable to the virus.

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In an effort to turn it around, schools across the U.S. are offering hiring bonuses similar to the one in South Windsor, providing the training needed to get a commercial driver’s license and increasing hourly pay to attract more drivers this year.

The situation is so dire in some states that in Massachusetts, the governor has activated the state’s National Guard to help with busing students to schools.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said 250 guard personnel will be available to serve as drivers of school transport vans.

FOX61 News has reached out to the Connecticut National Guard to see if they plan on stepping in to help school districts.

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