IndyGo starts new initiative to help those with criminal backgrounds join team, fill need for drivers

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INDIANAPOLIS — IndyGo is recruiting new drivers to help fill the need they have as more people start to ride the bus again since the pandemic.  

They’ve also started a new initiative for people with criminal backgrounds that they hope will increase their pool of qualified candidates. 

The goal is to extend employment to anyone who is otherwise qualified for the job. They don’t ask for anyone’s criminal background until they are ready to give them an offer. 

Once that happens, they will see if a person has an offense within the past seven years. If they do, they will evaluate it on a case-by-case basis. 

“That assessment is based on a variety of things, could be things like their rehabilitation efforts, their continuing education, any previous employment that they do have. And we weigh out all of those things on a case-by-case basis. And then make a determination on whether or not to accept them for employment,” said IndyGo spokesperson Carrie Black. 

Black says they want to hire about 10 to 15 drivers a month for the next several months to build up their staff. She says they lost quite a few during the pandemic for many different reasons, and now that more people are riding, they need more drivers.  

“We really recognize that for people with a criminal background, there are a number of barriers that are in place, that can result in homelessness. It can result in recidivism or offending again, can result in chronic unemployment. So we want to do our part to help promote re-entry into the workforce,” said Black.  

There are a couple of exceptions for this rule, like any crime against a child would automatically disqualify someone.  

“We need reliable drivers. Since March, since after the pandemic, I’ve been working at least 20 to 25 hours of overtime. And it takes a toll on you, but I keep on ticking,” said veteran driver and trainer Lisa Walker.  

She’s been driving for 21 years and says this is more than a good job, but a good career. 

For anyone who may be hesitant to drive, Walker says people shouldn’t be intimidated to apply because of the size of the bus. 

“You know what, when I first looked at these buses out on the street, I used to say the same thing,” said Walker. 

“But it’s all about your mirrors. All you do is keep constantly watching your mirrors and it’s really no different from driving your car–it’s just the back end is longer. “And we have such good instructors that they will help you through that. You don’t even have to be scared. They’re not going to let you go out on the road until you say you’re ready.” 

Click here if you’re interested in applying.  

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