By Tim McNicholas

CHICAGO (CBS) — CBS 2 is Working For Chicago, letting you know about the latest job opportunities.

As reopening expands, one school bus vendor is on the hunt for drivers to work with summer camps and other local summer programming.

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The only problem: the company can’t get enough applicants.  As Morning Insider Tim McNicholas reports, companies are competing with COVID-19 fears and unemployment benefits.

The signs tell the story outside the Illinois Central School Bus Company: Now hiring.–up to $21 an hour. But contract manager Cynthia Sosnowski knows those signs can only do so much.

“Everybody is in need of drivers,” Sosnowski said. “ I think people are kind of shy to come back to the unknown.”

Sosnowski says people might be afraid of catching COVID on a bus full of kids.

She’s hoping Illinois Central’s social distancing efforts can alleviate those concerns.

But she says that’s not the only hurdle.

“The extra [unemployment] assistance people are receiving, they may say, ‘I could just make this and not work right now,’ ” she said. “But I would say just give us a call, you might make more here than there.”

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That’s a concern that’s echoed across industries.

McDonald’s recently announced plans to raise pay at hundreds of restaurants as they push to hire thousands of workers.

Illinois Central and other companies are also offering signing bonuses in hopes of revving up their engines.

“I think a lot of people just still scared but the company provides the drivers and the monitors with everything you need–face masks hand sanitizers wipes,” said Lamar Mullen, a driver and trainer for Illinois Central.

The company expects the demand for drivers to soon be even higher, and they’re working to put their driver shortage in the rearview mirror.

“Chicago public schools is supposed to be having more programs this summer to kind of make up for lost time.” increasing the demand even more, said Sosnowski.

To apply at Illinois Central, click here.

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Tim McNicholas