Trucking industry needs drivers badly - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Trucking industry needs drivers badly

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -

Even in a bad economy there's one field that needs employees desperately. Commercial truck drivers are at an all time low and the demand is nationwide. Wiregrass Technical College in Valdosta has one of the best truck driving certification programs in the county.

Clarence Riley is training to become a commercial truck driver at Wiregrass Technical College. After he lost his job earlier this year in construction he says he's ready to start a stable career in trucking.

"I'm really a 53-year-old student in college now, I figure its about time for to me relax and start doing some driving," said Riley.

A new report released by the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics shows the United States will need 115,000 new truck drivers next year, but only about 16,000 are being trained. Wiregrass' Program Coordinator says this is becoming a huge problem in the freight industry.

"The problem is there's freight out there and there's no one to pull it and that causes the freight prices to go up because it has to get there sooner or later," said Dennis White.

White says one reason people don't want to get in the trucking business is because of all the time spent away from home.

"The generation coming out right now isn't sure they want to leave home. When you come out of a truck driving program, more often than not you're going to be running over 48 states."

Inside these trucks it's a drivers second home, they eat, sleep, and even watch television.

It only takes nine weeks to become certified and Wiregrass has a 100-percent job placement rate. The school's program is one of the most recognized in the county.

The average starting salary for a commercial truck driver is over $37,000, and to become certified at Wiregrass the program costs $1,700.

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