While many businesses had to lay off employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, one industry is desperate to hire.
According to the American Truck Driver Association, there is a truck driving shortage. In fact, they say there has been a shortage for the last 15 years.
The pandemic highlights this need, and it is something the Stevens Truck School is trying to bridge with their classes that don’t happen in the classroom, but rather hands-on with lessons in the truck.
"Because it is all one-on-one, it doesn’t take long to learn this," said Jason Siepierski, a driving instructor. "We give 35-36 hours of training and you are already taking your road test at that point in time. Whereas other places might have more hours, but hardly any time in the truck. All 36 of those hours are here in the truck."
He’s had more students lately, as CDL Director Chuck Williams says enrollment has doubled since the beginning of the pandemic, going from 50 students to about 100.
And that’s due to the demand for increased employment opportunities.
"We have been inundated with people who want to learn a new career," said Williams. "We have people that had their license and lost them, but mostly it’s people who want to get to a different career field or make money."
He says truck drivers can make anywhere from $50,000 to $65,000 to start.
The American Truck Driver Association says nearly every good consumed in the United States is put on a truck at some point, and last year alone, more than 70 percent of all freight was transported by trucks, equaling around 11 billion tons of goods.
With many people ordering online over the last eight months, and opting to stay home instead of going to the store, this amplifies the need for truck drivers.
"We need drivers more than ever," said Williams. "We don’t know where this pandemic is going, but there is always going to be a need for truck drivers. They have to get the needs through, it’s just a fact of life."
He says the school works with many local companies currently looking to fill positions.
To learn more about the school, you can head to its website.