MIDDLEBURY, Ind. — Cardinal Buses, an Indiana charter bus service, said today it is hiring six new charter bus drivers in Middlebury, located in Elkhart County which has the highest unemployment rate in the U.S. and drew a Presidential visit today.
Cardinal Buses, founded in 1923, has been steadily expanding over the past few years despite the layoffs and contraction that the rest of the county has experienced.
President Obama returned today to this economically hard-hit stretch of northern Indiana for the fourth time in 15 months, proclaiming that the government's economic stimulus program is working and has begun to switch gears from rescue to recovery.
As part of that effort, Obama announced $2.4 billion in federal grants to boost U.S. production of electric cars, a key component of his administration's push to reduce oil imports and cut greenhouse gas emissions. The money comes from the $787-billion economic stimulus bill that Congress passed this year.
Obama spoke at a recreational vehicle plant that closed months ago — cutting at least 1,400 jobs in Elkhart County. The plant was sold this year and has been slowly recalling workers.
For many in the heartland, recovery is still elusive. In the nearby city of Elkhart, where more than 45% of the businesses are in manufacturing and one-quarter of those are tied to the RV industry, more than a dozen RV factories have shut down in the last 12 months. Industrial production has fallen off 27%, year over year, and the unemployment rate in the county stands at about 17%.
Hundreds of residents lined the grass-covered hills across the street from the Monaco RV plant this morning, waving signs that pleaded for jobs to come to the area.
Cardinal Buses expects that the additional six members of its staff of highly trained, professional charter bus drivers will further solidify its presence as a premier charter bus service provider in the Midwest.
Cardinal Buses provides charter bus transportation to/from South Bend, Ind., as well as transportation to Michigan, Illinois and other Indiana destinations like Notre Dame. Cardinal Buses also offers O'Hare airport ground transportation in and out of Chicago as one of its most requested services.
The hiring openings at Cardinal Buses are exciting for the charter bus drivers that land the positions. With such a high unemployment rate in Elkhart County, the competition is fierce and jobs are hard to come by. Cardinal Buses has had minimal employment turnover throughout the years.
Getting a position as a Cardinal Buses driver is competitive, regardless of the economy, due to the high standards of service expected from Cardinal operators.
The average driver has more than 13 years of professional experience. The new charter bus operators also receive a minimum of five weeks training to ensure that they are performing up to Cardinal Buses' standards of excellence and customer service. This training includes over 500 miles of on-the-road driving. Typical training locations include Chicago, Notre Dame, South Bend and Grand Rapids.
Sources: Cardinal Buses; The Los Angeles Times