Job fair seeks bus drivers, teachers as school could begin with shortage, Osceola district says

Job fair runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Valencia’s Osceola campus

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – A job fair will seek to hire more bus drivers and teachers for the Osceola County School District as district officials say the school year is on track to start with a shortage.

The school district is participating with CareerSource for Tuesday’s job fair at Valencia’s Osceola campus in Kissimmee. Interested applicants can visit the fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the CIT building.

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Brenton Jackson, 33, came in on Wednesday prepared with his resume and certifications in hand in hopes of landing a job as a P.E. teacher for the district.

“I would say my itch is elementary, but I don’t mind doing middle school as well. So elementary I would say first then middle school,” Jackson said.

According to the district’s website, there are more than 400 teacher openings.

This job fair comes weeks before the school district will host a final job fair ahead of the new school year.

“Currently, the department is in the process of creating and establishing bus routes. We ended the 2021-2022 school year with 35 routes that did not have a bus driver. For the 2022-2023 school year, that number could go up as we establish routes based on where children move and how many children, who need transportation to school, are moving to the area,” the district said in a release.

A spokesperson with the district’s transportation services said the upcoming school year will start “with a driver shortage” and that the district would have a better idea of how many drivers are needed closer to Aug. 10.

The district reached an agreement in June to raise the district’s starting wage for full-time drivers to $16.50 an hour. Any substitute drivers, attendants and full-time attendants will start at $15 an hour.

Applicants do not need a commercial driver’s license as the district provides training in July. The district said it will waive the high school diploma or GED requirement for applicants if they fit the criteria.

Other positions like substitute teachers and before and after school care workers are needed as well.

“I can tell you that at the end of the school year, there were 35 unassigned routes now that number could go up or it can even go down depending how many routes, we are zone for and how they are established,” Zach Downes with Osceola County Schools Transportation services said.

Downes explained they have had nearly 60 applicants show up to their bus driver job fairs which News 6 has covered for the last several months.

He explained the hiring process is what takes the most time.

“It can take up to several weeks. Some people get it done faster than others because there are several steps that require you to go to different government offices to get proper certification, but it just depends on the person,” Downes said.

The final job fair will be taking place on July 26.

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About the Authors:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.

Ezzy Castro is a multimedia journalist on News 6's morning team who has a passion for telling the stories of the people in the Central Florida community. Ezzy worked at WFOR CBS4 in South Florida and KBMT in Beaumont, Texas, where she covered Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Being from Miami, Ezzy loves Cuban coffee and croquetas!