“Before you can hit the Interstate in a semi truck, you have to go to school first.
At JTL Truck Driver Training, it’s Aaron Piper’s job to make sure the students at his school are ready to make the leap after a four week class.
“It requires a lot of dedication,” said Piper.
At JTL, new students fill up four week classes quickly.
“Our graduation rate is right up there about four weeks.”
For Piper, that’s a good thing. Even then, it’s still not enough to keep up with the high demand.
“The industry needs a lot of help.”
At JTL, recruiters are calling every day. According to an American Trucking Associations study, what is currently a driver shortage of about 60,000 will eventually triple in the next seven years. It expects the shortage to grow to about 174,000.
“I think it’s going to get worse,” said Larry Marsh, JTL president.
Marsh says that’s concerning because truck drivers are an important part of our every day lives.
“The product that you want to buy goes on a truck at some point in time and to get that freight moved we need more drivers to get that done efficiently.”
Marsh says the numbers are dire. Retirements and an average driver age of about 55 keep it that way. He says there is at least some hope for the future, however, whether it’s companies raising salaries or offering better benefits and more flexible schedules.
“You don’t have to be out on the road two to three weeks at a time anymore.”
Next door to JTL sits Sapp Bros. In November, it advertised for delivery and transport drivers. A $1500 hiring bonus was also part of that advertisement.
Piper says getting jobs like those filled will go a long way in helping the trucking industry.
“It’s crucial that happens,” said Piper.
Trucking experts tell FOX 42 News military veterans are beginning to step up and help fill the void. Women are doing the same.”
Information from Fox 42 KPTM: https://fox42kptm.com/news/local/trucking-experts-say-driver-shortage-isnt-getting-any-better
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