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AFSCME launches ‘Staff the Front Lines’ bus tour aimed at solving understaffing crisis

In more than 20 cities, the tour will highlight public service job openings, encourage qualified individuals in underrepresented communities to apply

WASHINGTON – States, cities, towns and schools are facing an unprecedented staffing crisis, as hiring for public sector jobs has not kept pace with the private sector. In April, there were 833,000 job openings in state and local governments. In response, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is kicking off a national bus tour this summer to recruit talented, diverse and dedicated people to staff the front lines.

“We all deserve to live in thriving communities with clean drinking water, safe roads, strong public schools, and good health care. But right now, our nurses, school bus drivers, 911 dispatchers, corrections officers and other public service workers are on the front lines of a staffing crisis that is threatening their ability to do their jobs,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders. “AFSCME members know our communities best, and that’s why we’re launching the Staff the Front Lines bus tour. By working together, we can fix this problem.”

The bus tour is part of AFSCME’s Staff the Front Lines initiative, a comprehensive effort that includes hiring events, legislative advocacy, extensive partnership building and a robust digital marketing strategy. The initiative also establishes a national Job Training and Development Center to build a sustainable talent pipeline into public service and address structural barriers to entry and advancement. The bus will make stops in communities across the country, where community leaders will host job fairs to recruit new talent, listening sessions with public service workers and professional development events.

“There isn’t going to be a one-size-fits-all solution to solve this crisis, but we can start by prioritizing and listening to the public service workers who have dedicated their careers to serving their communities,” said Saunders. “Public service jobs are often good union jobs, providing better wages, benefits, retirement security and safer working conditions. It is also rewarding work where people can make a difference.”

The bus tour will stop in New York, Michigan, Minnesota, Washington, California, Arizona, New Mexico, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Virginia.

To learn more about the Staff the Front Lines initiative, visit

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