SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

 Southeast Senior Services Drivers Training
By Marianne Mills, M.S.W.


November 16, 2010
Tuesday AM

Over four days beginning October 19th, 2010, senior service drivers who serve 14 Southeast Alaskan communities participated in an intensive, professional training workshop at the Catholic Community Service (CCS) Training Center in Juneau.  Included in the event were drivers from the Aangoon Shu Senior Center, Craig/Klawock Senior Center, Haines/Klukwan Senior Center, Hoonah Senior Center, Juneau Care-A-Van, Kake Senior Center, Ketchikan/Saxman Senior Center, Swan Lake Senior Center/Sitka Care-A-Van, Skagway Senior Center, Wrangell Senior Center, and Yakutat Senior Center.

jpg Southeast Senior Services Drivers Training

Participants at the recent SESS Drivers Workshop included (left to right) Marsha Partlow, Larry Zehe, Charles Knapp, Alonso DeGranda, Robert Milton, Marianne Mills, Dale Williams, Maxine Brown, Crispulo Zamora, Ganny Aviles, Tim Salter, Helen Galstad, Carolyn Jack, Doug Bridges, Caroline Frengle, and Wilfred Skeek.

The Southeast Senior Services (SESS) Drivers Workshop was kicked off by Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOTPF) Transit Coordinator Debbi Howard, as she explained the importance of the drivers in the lives of senior citizens and their role in helping seniors stay healthy and connected to their communities. SESS Program Director Marianne Mills distributed transportation policies and procedures binders to each driver and reviewed the most essential parts. 

Certified Trainers Doug Bridges and Robert Milton provided the vast majority of the professional training.  On Tuesday and Wednesday, they used various methods, including video, classroom and hands-on instruction, to teach about Passenger Assistance, Service, and Safety (PASS).  PASS, a course recommended by the Community Transportation Association of America, includes disability awareness and sensitivity, an overview of assistive devices (wheelchairs, walkers, etc.), and the proper ways to use wheelchair lifts and to tie down wheelchairs.  The importance of offering door-to-door assistance to ensure passenger safety was emphasized.

On Day 3 of the training, CCS Human Resource Manager Carleen Mitchell covered the CCS Code of Ethics and confidentiality of personal information, as well as personnel policies including those which address harassment and drugs and alcohol use.  She explained that all employees receive background checks prior to hire.  NTS Coordinators Doug Bridges, Caroline Frengle, and Marsha Partlow also provided training on vehicle inspections and maintenance, reporting paperwork, and grant record keeping requirements.

On Day 4, Certified Trainers Bridges and Milton offered the Smith System Defensive Driving Course.  Each driver was required to apply the classroom instruction to actual on-the-road driving and evaluation, with all drivers passing the certification tests.  One of the most valuable aspects of the training was giving the participants a rare chance to meet each other, to bring up particular situations they’ve encountered on the job, and to ask their peers and the instructors for ideas on how to handle such challenges. 

The Drivers Workshop was made possible through grants from the DOTPF and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Senior and Disabilities Services.  Everyone age 60 and over is eligible to use the door-to-door transportation services provided by SESS.  In selected communities, accessible transportation is also offered to persons with disabilities who are under the age of 60.  For further information, call SESS, toll-free in Alaska at 1-866-746-6177 (or 463-6177 from Juneau).



Marianne Mills is the Program Director of Southeast Senior Services (SESS) which offers home and community-based services for older Alaskans throughout the Southeast region. SESS is a part of Catholic Community Service (CCS) which assists all persons regardless of their faith.



Source of News:

Southeast Senior Services (SESS)

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Ketchikan, Alaska