PELHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama is facing a shortage of bus drivers and academic officials want to address the problem before the new school year.

School leaders say there are unfilled bus driver positions in every school system in the state and they are working to train new drivers fast to fill these positions.

The Alabama Community College System is teaming up with Pelham City Schools and Shelby County Schools to launch a new training program called “Skills for Success” designed to train new drivers quickly. The program’s goal is to get new drivers on buses as soon as possible.

“School bus driving has become a much more safety-orientated and professional profession. We now have to meet standards for all commercial drivers and to make sure our drivers know all the safety things they need to know as they work,” Pelham City Schools Superintendent Dr. Chuck Ledbetter said.

“The Community College System has put together this course that allowed me to do it in the evenings, after work and allowed me to still provide for my family while taking on this new avenue of income,” Pelham City Schools Bus Driver Brent Todd said.

The program was launched earlier this year. Over 100 school systems have had potential drivers go through this training and 145 new school bus drivers have been hired.

To learn more about the “Skills for Success” training program, click here.