It was in 2019 that Shaniyah’s great-grandmother shared WPSI’s pilot SEPTA Bus Operator program with her, which seemed like the natural next step after driving for CCT Connect Paratransit. “I was just trying out stuff. I didn’t know what I wanted. My great-grandmom was always sending me WPSI stuff and this time, the timing and the opportunity worked out.”
The 8-week training opportunity advertised no-cost CDL training and testing, with Goodwill Industries signed on to facilitate the CDL training. Collaborating with a third-party technical trainer was new to the Skills Initiative, but CDL-B permitting and testing was identified to be a major barrier for most aspiring Bus Operators. The theory was proven to be correct when over 500 people applied for the coveted 12 spots. Ultimately, Shaniyah was one of ten to complete the program and received an offer of employment from SEPTA.
“When I started at SEPTA, my first goal was an apartment. Then a car. Things started working. Sometimes you gotta take a pause. Focus on your next goal. I got my house, and now I can focus on my music. And my dog.” Four years later, Shaniyah is still at SEPTA and following her dreams on and off the road. “I love music. I started writing in 2017. My family can sing, it’s like hereditary… to sing costs money. Studio time, videos.” Driving has become an unexpected source of inspiration, exposing her to people and places that she may not have had contact with otherwise. After shifts, she often finds herself writing about her experiences. “SEPTA is what you make it.” Her debut single can be heard here.