October 31, 2012

Trucker jobs hard to fill for long haul

A shortage looms as demand for drivers grows while young people avoid life on the road.

The Associated Press

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Trucks Travel
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U.S. companies are expected to create more than 115,000 truck driver jobs per year through 2016, but the number of Americans getting trained to fill those jobs each year is barely 10 percent of the total demand.

Associated Press file photo

Trucking companies are trying different approaches to lure young drivers into their rigs. Some offer higher wages – a few extra cents per mile – or work with their drivers to carve out shorter routes designed to get them home sooner. C.R. England, which operates five driver training schools in the U.S., is refunding tuition to graduates after they work six months for the company.

David Sheehy of Greely, Colo., just graduated from the company's school in Salt Lake City. He'll be paired with an experienced driver for the next month, perhaps longer, before hitting the road on his own.

Sheehy, 32, said economic hardships in his hometown pushed him toward trucking after years of bouncing between different jobs with little stability. He drove a tow truck, worked for a car rental company and even was an umpire calling Little League and high school baseball games. He's single and excited about seeing new parts of the country. And he's eager to earn steady pay.

"It is truly a special breed," Sheehy said. "You're talking about long hours, weeks on the road at a time, time away from family. There are a lot of negative things.

"But they told me a first-year driver can gross $40,000 a year easily," he said. "You're taking about financial security there."

 

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