Growing up on St. Paul’s East Side, James Partlow-Hernandez was no stranger to Metro Transit. His father and two uncles spent several decades working out of the East Metro Garage.
“My family kept nudging me to apply for a job at transit,” he said.
While working as a kitchen manager at a local Italian restaurant, he applied. But he soon discovered that he needed his GED to qualify.
In 2018, with GED in hand, he applied and became a full-time bus operator. Today, he continues in his family’s footsteps working as a bus operator out of East Metro.
“It was a weight lifted off my shoulders,” he said. “It felt good.”
As fate would have it, Partlow-Hernandez recently inspired someone else to finish their education.
Onboard Route 63, a simple, “How’s your day going?” led to a deeper discussion with a customer who was unemployed and who told him how hard it was to get a job without a GED.
Partlow-Hernandez shared his story, encouraged him not to give up and even explained which routes he could use to get to places where he could work toward his GED. The customer recently submitted a commendation about this interaction, thanking Partlow-Hernandez for inspiring him.
“It feels good to help others,” Partlow-Hernandez said. “I hope he pursues his GED and gets the job he wants.”
Drivers start at more than $21 per hour – even during training – and receive outstanding benefits, including health care, annual salary increases, a pension plan, an unlimited-ride bus pass and a $1,000 hiring bonus. To learn more and apply, visit metrotransit.org/drive.