bus driver standing on the bus.

After spending years working in customer service, factory jobs and various management positions, Jen Himmelein prayed that she would find a job she enjoyed. Then one day, she was driving by Paw Paw High School on Red Arrow Highway and saw a school bus sitting by the road with a sign that read, “Bus Driver Job Fair.” The event was that day, so she took a quick right. That was two years ago, and she hasn’t looked back since.

“After I was hired, even before I had my driving credentials,” Jen said, “I already felt like I was part of the family. My boss is amazing, our secretary rocks, and the drivers have each other’s backs.”

Being around kids is not something new to Jen. As a volunteer, Jen has worked with kids from all types of difficult backgrounds. She calls it her ministry, and at one point she even took in a 16- year-old that came from a rough situation at home.

“This experience and others have helped me to relate to other kids who are going through tough situations,” Jen explained. “I have a terrible memory, but when I get on the bus each day, I try to remember each kid’s story and determine what approach works best for each one. It’s important to get to know the kids. If you don’t know your kids, there’s no way you’ll be able to know how they’re feeling or what they’re going through. We are the first thing they see in the morning and the last thing they see before they go home at night.”

When asked what the most important traits in a school bus driver are, Jen paused, carefully considered her answer, and concluded with, “You have to have patience, humor is also very important, and stability is everything. If you’re going to be there, you need to be all-in and focused on their safety, asking, ‘Do they have their coats, boots, backpacks, and everything they need?’ Not only is it rewarding to work with kids and see their growth, but it’s the most gratifying job I’ve ever had!”

If you or someone you know would make a great bus driver, then take the next step by applying online: http://tinyurl.com/49t6chds

Here are some of the benefits we can offer:

  • An opportunity filled with the joy of giving back to your community while helping families.
  • Help with getting your CDL-Class B with the necessary endorsements.
  • Paid training while you get your credentials.
  • Competitive wages, flexible hours, and benefits; including State of Michigan retirement.
  • Matching schedules for drivers with kids in school.
  • If you're looking to join an amazing team and increase your professional skills, this is a great opportunity for you!

To learn more, call Transportation Director Angela Vasquez at 269-415-5220, or email: angela.vasquez@ppps.org.