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What started out as an initiative to recruit parents searching for a part-time job turned into an annual effort for the Shelby County, Tennessee, recruitment team at Durham School Services. The company’s recruiters teamed up with school districts and the company’s safety team to educate their communities about school bus safety.

Knowing that the third week of October is National School Bus Safety Week, they partnered with the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) and started Durham’s annual School Bus Coloring and Poster Contest for elementary and middle school students in October. NAPT designed a coloring page, which included space at the bottom with a message informing parents that positions were open, and that recruiters would contact them if they provided their contact information.

That year, 960 coloring pages were returned. They received 33 leads, and five people were hired as a result of the effort to both recruit parents and inform kids of the importance of school bus safety.

Here are five tips to help districts create a community message to bring in driver applications and make the public aware of safety.

1. Research industry associations.
Review calendars, conventions, and safety and community programs associations and identify common goals, visions, or values between them and your business.

2. Partner with your local chambers of commerce.
Chambers of commerce often have an annual calendar of events that they organize.

3. Host a safety carnival or conference for the community.
Although the theme isn’t job recruitment, recruiters can still benefit from organizing a safety conference for the community. Offer commercial driver’s license (CDL) and first aid classes on site. Bring in the local police association, fire department, and ambulance services to not only provide safety tips for the public, but to also lead workshops on community safety programs.

4. Write press releases in cooperation with your safety department to report safety initiatives or accomplishments.
As a recruiter, nothing supports the effort of recruiting new drivers more than good press.

5. Host your own contest among school districts during National School Bus Safety Month.
While coloring contests appeal to elementary students, poster contests, art contests, or even debate team contests may appeal to older students. Work with principals, school administration, or school board members to showcase students’ artwork at local libraries, at your school bus center, or even at local art galleries. Host an awards night to draw in families and solicit support from chamber of commerce members for prizes for the students.

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