The Trucking Industry of 2012

Training Our Truck Drivers

2/19/2012 by Tanya Bons


Industry Effect: Increase in Hiring, Increase in Truck Driver Wages, Increase in CSA Compliance, Increase in Recruiting, Decrease in Driver Shortage, Decrease in Unemployment, Variation in Driver's Backgrounds/Educations

Job placement, job security, price comparison to college educations and even the rampant television truck driving shows have all factored into the increase of enrollment. The telephones at the schools are ringing off the hook and the email boxes are full; everyone wants to know how they can become a truck driver. If everyone that wanted to be a truck driver could attend training we might be able to delay the driver shortage and avoid some fall-out but it isn't that easy.

Financing and funding has been a major deterrent for many. In 2009 the Workforce Investment Act, WIA, was funding 60-80% of the students attending truck-driving schools. The WIA funding for 2011/2012 has seen a decline of 72.8% in funds, a cut of over $1.94 billion. Many of the WIA offices are limited or completely out of funds.

Historically many low income, often less educated, individuals received the funds to attend the schools. In 2006 starting pay for a truck driver was $32,000, this varied greatly from the $5.15 minimum wage. WIA offered many of these individuals the opportunity to change their lives. Now the funding isn't here and the disadvantaged individuals become even more disadvantaged.

In 2012 the majority of students enrolled in truck driving schools are self-pay. The lack of WIA funds, the tightening of the banks and the factor that most potential students are unemployed has created a beg, borrow, steal defense to pay for enrollment. This has ruled out training for many of the disadvantaged and has opened schools to a new clientele.

The 2012 truck driving school student often has, at minimum, a high school diploma, they previously held a good job prior to the recession, they are a veteran, they may have had their own business and they still have access to some money. Though these rules do not apply to everyone, many of the students fit at least one of the above categories.

Starting pay for truck drivers is now around $36,000 while minimum wage is $7.25. Students entering the truck-driving field are no longer from low income, less educated backgrounds; these new students are use to making money and sometimes double the trucker's salary.

These new students, along with making money, are also used to holding full-time jobs. They're not as apt to quit when things get rough; they hang in and try to make a go of it.

Many students also consider using their education, experience, and self-motivation to start their own business and become owner-operators in the future.

Truck driving schools are popping up everywhere. Colleges are throwing programs together on a side campus, contract training schools are loading their classrooms and new vocational schools are opening down the block from existing schools. Students have never had a better opportunity to choose the type of training they will receive. Students, with cash in their pockets, can enroll in programs that offer longer driving hours, improved placement and better training because they are paying themselves. The disadvantaged students will be forced into signing contracts for "free training" and the real "lucky ones" will be ushered into the partnering college programs that their WIA office prefers.

Drive safe,
Tanya Bons

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UPDATE: June 2012, several articles hit the media, deliveries and shipments are being delayed. They blame a lack of truck drivers and state the lack is due to the inability to pay for the training. Starting wages are now increased and reported to be $45,000 to $50,000.

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By: Spirit CDL.com By: Spirit CDL.com