Recruiter: Trucking industry "begging" for good drivers | News
OXFORD, AL (WBRC)- The recruiter for a local truck driving school says there's a nationwide shortage of over-the-road workers. In fact he says they're "begging" for drivers.
Howell Bailey recruits for the Truck Drivers Institute school on Highway 78 in Oxford. It's a division of Commercial Driver Institute, which has schools throughout the Eastern U.S.
Bailey says up to 400,000 such jobs are going wanting, and it's not unusual for his graduates to get multiple job offers.
"They are begging for drivers right now. It's such a need that it's overwhelming, really," Bailey tells Fox6 News. "Every company that comes in are hiring drivers right now."
Bailey says the reason is that trucking companies hold higher standards now than in the past. There are thorough background checks that weed out felons and repeat traffic offenders for instance, as well as strong drug testing. Some of his own prospective students get turned away for those reasons.
But for those who make it through the three week course—which includes a week in class, time on the school's range and some time on the highway, plus a driving test at a facility in Guntersville—there can be opportunities awaiting.
One of those came to Brandon Goble. The married father of three was laid off earlier this year from the Anniston Army Depot, then already had eleven job offers only at the end of his second week.
"It makes me feel a lot, lot better, and more comfortable. And I'm going to be able to get through the downtime," he says.
Goble also says it gives him a chance to follow two other generations of his family into the truck driving business.
Bailey says starting pay for truck drivers can average some $40,000 a year plus lucrative benefits. He says a lot of people look to truck driving when they lose work in construction, for instance, due to a soft housing industry, or when they get burned out in their current jobs. He says he often gets nurses.
Goble also says about ten percent of his graduates are women.
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