Truck Drivers Needed, Tech Colleges Recruiting

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The American Trucking Association estimates about 70 percent of freight moved in the United Sates travels on a truck.

That number keeps growing.

Trucking companies tell Action 2 News there aren’t enough drivers to keep up with the demand.

“Right now, throughout our industry, there is a shortage of drivers,” said Jeff Shefchik. He said baby boomers retiring are contributing to the shortage.

Currently, there are about 3 million truck drivers in the U.S. who collectively carry about 9.8 billion tons of freight each year.

The trucking industry has had more than a 95 percent turnover rate for the past three years. It currently is in need of 35,000 to 40,000 drivers.

“There’s a lot of different things competing for drivers and employees,” said John Mueller, driving instructor at Fox Valley Technical College.

The amount of freight keeps growing, but trucking companies are not able to add the capacity.

“As the economy picks up and things get better, manufacturers are producing more,” Shefchik said. “There’s more freight that needs to be hauled, so we need to continue to grow as a company and as an industry.”

Some colleges see the demand and are trying new ways to close the gap.

“We have some job fairs, we have the mobile lab goes out to different recruiting events,” Mueller said.

The mobile lab was recently unveiled at Fox Valley Technical College. It often travels to area middle and high schools to expose students to a career they may not have otherwise considered.

“You show students what our careers are all about. It really helps to draw people in and inform them of the opportunities that are out there,” Mike Farrell, diesel technology instructor at Fox Valley Technical College, said.

The goal of the lab is to create more interest in truck driving and technician jobs.

“There’s a real shortage in a lot of those industries right now and at tech college you can go one or two years and come out and get a career that you’re going to see significant wage increases in the next several years in those careers,” said Shefchik.

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