DECATUR, Ala. – The trucking industry has been dealing with a driver shortage for quite some time. The pandemic isn’t making things any better, especially on gas prices.
“If you look a the truck behind me, on the trailer it says truck drivers are in demand. That’s at least 5-years old,” said Houston Blackwood, the Director of Calhoun CC Workforce Solutions.
Blackwood has read his fair share of, “trucker shortage” headlines over the years.
“I think that’s an easy fix. The training is out there. There is so many training organizations, Calhoun of course has a great one,” said Blackwood.
The stakes only seem to get higher. There’s more than a few workforces out there that need workers.
According to National Tank Truck Carriers, 20- 25 percent of their fuel trucks are stuck in parking lots because of a lack of drivers.
That doesn’t help the price you pay at the pump. Nationally, the U.S. is approaching $3 a gallon. Which increases the pressure on the trucking industry to address the issue of an aging workforce.
In Blackwood’s eyes, he thinks a combination of greater awareness of what the industry offers and a harder push for younger drivers, could help this problem.
Industry professionals like Blackwood say most young CDL drivers don’t spend weeks on the road, like most people tend to think of the trucking industry. Instead, younger drivers are usually driving within the state and locally and are home on the weekends. Making it, in Blackwood’s opinion, a job opportunity for some college students.
“If they are working through a business degree, or a management degree or a finance degree, now they’ve got this first hand knowledge of logistics, budgeting and marketing. All these things that matter to business, management and finance.”
Some CDL programs were impacted by the pandemic. However, local high schools are seeing the economic importance of this field and have decided to partner with CDL programs like what Calhoun Community College offers.
“Morgan County Schools funded $20,000 for that training and they have up to 20 seats for students,” said Blackwood. If you have a student within the Morgan County that is interested (must be 18) give the district a call.
It generally takes about a month to get the basic requirements out of the way for your CDL. However some people are able to get it done a little earlier. Most programs have told News 19 you can get a job right away if you pursue a CDL.