CT school bus company hoping Waterbury job fair can help with school bus driver shortage

New Haven

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Waterbury’s Courtyard by Marriott Hotel hosted more than 60 business owners and company representatives at a job fair sponsored by The Waterbury Regional Chamber Tuesday. The goal: to help businesses dealing with worker shortages get more people to get back to work.

RELATED: Regional Chamber Job Fair set for Tuesday in Waterbury

“There are more jobs than people,” said Lynn Ward, president and CEO of the Waterbury Regional Chamber. “I think employers are so willing to be more flexible than ever before but they have a job to do and they have positions to fill.”

It’s no secret school bus companies have had difficulty filling positions. A shortage of school bus drivers has crippled districts – not just here in Connecticut, but throughout the country.

That’s why Patrick Slater was at the job fair. He’s the recruitment manager for DATTCO – one of Connecticut’s largest school bus companies.

“It’s critical,” Slater said. “We’re using all of our resources to attract as many school bus drivers as we can throughout Connecticut and Rhode Island. We need at least 100 school bus drivers immediately.”

Among other businesses there looking to hire – Lakewood Lanes. The family-owned bowling alley has been an institution in Waterbury for 35 years. The owner, Charlie Lanza, feared he may have to shut down during the pandemic at the height of the closures and restrictions.

But, he says business has picked up, presenting another problem. Now, he has to keep up with demand and needs to hire more workers.

“Today, I am looking to hire 10-15 people,” Lanza said. “We need employees. We absolutely need employees.”

Anthony Bruno-Cruz is one of the many people who stopped by Lanza’s table, looking for work.

“I’m saying anybody who is looking for a job there’s plenty of people offering jobs. It’s not hard to find one,” he said.

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