School Bus Fleet

July 2014

A management & maintenance magazine for school transportation fleets

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18 S C H O O L B U S F L E E T • J U L Y 2 0 1 4 S ome districts are using maintenance apprenticeship programs to grow their applicant pools, teach work and life skills, and give back to the community by contributing skilled techni- cians. Students, in turn, gain experience for their resumes, earn some money — in some cases while attending college — and some- times fnd a career path resulting in a full- time job with the district. Expanding the applicant pool Started approximately 15 years ago, the Tul- sa (Okla.) Bridges Project, a Department of Re- habilitation Services intern program, provides high school juniors and seniors with work op- portunities in the Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) transportation department, creating well- trained potential employees who already know the shop and how it works. The program was introduced as a way to give special-needs students with high-func- tioning capabilities vocational, hands-on ex- perience in the garage and other areas of the transportation department. Students help me- chanics with tasks such as changing tires and oil, learn about vehicle maintenance and safe- ty, and review diagnostics. They also assist in the routing and scheduling department with data entry, documentation, taking phone calls and dispatch. Developing essential skills for the real- world work environment, such as punctual- ity and responsibility, is another aspect of the program, says Rosalyn Vann-Jackson, assis- tant director of transportation at TPS. These are emphasized in what she calls the three As: attendance, appearance and attitude. In addition to giving students work skills and experience, districts get employees who are already familiar with the shop and its practices. BY NICOLE SCHLOSSER, MANAGING EDITOR Apprentice, Intern Programs Groom Great Workers The Dallas County Schools co-op program is designed for students seeking careers in vehicle maintenance. They learn the trade, earn extra money, and some are hired by the district after they graduate.

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