Los Angeles resident and Whittier Union Adult School student Andrea Mitchell loves being behind the wheel of a school bus.
Mitchell completed the Adult School’s 10-week School Bus Training Program and behind-the-wheel training in summer 2019. After less than three months of schooling, she is kicking off her new career as a bus driver for the Whittier Union High School District.
“My goal is to be a safe driver,” Mitchell said. “You really have to have the heart and desire to be here, work with kids and love what you do. It’s an important job. It’s a special job.”
Mitchell previously worked in the office of a transportation cooperative, but sought to work directly with students through a career in the transportation field.
“This was a perfect opportunity to demonstrate that I could be a real asset,” said Mitchell, whose children attend St. Paul High School and El Rancho Unified School District, which is served by the WUHSD Transportation Department.
Mitchell joined the first class of the School Bus Training program in spring 2019. She learned laws and regulations regarding school bus driving, took intense practice tests and studied commercial handbooks, eventually earning a Class C commercial driver’s permit and California Special Driver Certificate from the California Highway Patrol.
Mitchell also received training in first aid, CPR and serving students with disabilities.
“I’ve gotten so much experience and knowledge,” she said. “The instructors are great and interactive with the class. They want you to be successful. It’s a lot of information and hard work, but it’s exciting to learn together.”
As part of the program, Mitchell and other student trainees secured paid internships with Whittier Union to complete behind-the-wheel training. Those who earned full licensure are now WUHSD employees.
Additional career opportunities available within the WUHSD Transportation Department include dispatcher, router scheduler and certified trainer.
Learn more about the program on page 16 of the Fall 2019 Course Catalog.