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Maybe I should become a garbageman

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    COVID has created a nationwide driver shortage.

    It's meant that parents have to scramble on how to get their kids to school, since there are not enough bus drivers.

    In a new nationwide survey, half of student-transportation coordinators described their school bus driver shortages as either "severe" or "desperate."

    In Chicago this week, 70 bus drivers, about 10% of the workforce, abruptly quit over the district's new COVID-19 vaccine mandate, according to WBEZ's Sarah Karp. The move left some 2,100 students, a little less than half of them in special education, without a way to get to school.

    And in Pittsburgh, the public schools notified families that they are short almost 650 bus seats for the first day of school on Friday.

    The price of shipping just about anything has gone up because there aren't enough qualified drivers, and the shortage of drivers has also affected the waste management industry, causing some providers to offer incentives.

    On August 12, Waste Management sent out a recruiting letter with this benefits:

    1) Competitive wages AND a $7500 signing bonus for qualified drivers and technicians

    2) Medical, dental, and vision coverage

    3) Company matching 401K program

    4) Paid time off

    5) Child and elder care through Bright Horizona

    6) "your Tomorrow", which is a program that covers 100% of college tuition. Next year, the program will be expanded to cover spouses and dependents.

    Drivers average $50,000 a year, and management positions all come with a six figure income.,Assembler%20to%20%2425.01%20per%20hour%20for%20Equipment%20Operator.

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    It's not as easy as one would think:

    The primary qualifications you need for a career as a garbage truck driver include a commercial driver's license that allows you to operate heavy vehicles, the physical fitness to lift up to 50 pounds, and experience with mechanical work and vehicle maintenance. Educational requirements vary by area, but some regions only ask for the equivalent of a 10th-grade education. Fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of this job requires an understanding of safe working practices and the ability to drive large vehicles through narrow areas, so attention to detail is essential. Helpful skills include the ability to work in a team, a willingness to work in almost any weather conditions, and a thorough understanding of all potential hazards, safety rules, and applicable regulations.

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    The nationwide driver shortage is hitting many industries - including education.

    In Massachusetts, Governor Baker activated the Massachusetts National Guard Monday to assist with school transportation, starting in four cities.

    Up to 250 personnel will be available, with 90 Guard members slated to begin training on Tuesday to help with transportation in Chelsea, Lawrence, Lowell, and Lynn, according to a statement from the state’s Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. The members will drive school transport vans known as 7D vehicles.

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    According to the Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA), COVID guidelines are preventing truck driving schools from operating at full capacity, and the number of new CDL licenses issued is down approximately 40%.