Do Financial Hurdles Impede Aspiring Truckers?
Truck driving is the type of job that has changed substantially over the years. Though the core duties of freight transportation remain the same, everything from the pay to the regulatory environment is different than it has been in previous decades.
While there are many ways in which the industry has improved, there have also been some setbacks. One of the major problems facing the field today is the shortage of qualified CDL truck drivers. Before finishing out his tenure as American Trucking Associations president and CEO last year, Bill Graves pegged the driver shortage at 50,000 in 2015.
Now under new management and going off new data, ATA officials say the driver shortage could swell to over 250,000 in less than three years. With a significant and concerning figure of this type sticking out, it is clear that trucking managers must make it easier for drivers to join the workforce.
But what are the hindrances? Some believe that the truck driver shortage is related to the cost of getting started. The first financial burden drivers face deals with covering the cost of their training.
Trucking school is more akin to a vocational program than it is to a traditional college. However, like nearly all major educational institutions, driving school has its own tuition. While rates can vary depending on the type of school and the program offered, many people who are eager to get their start find their first roadblock in the form of financials.
Some trucking schools have tried to offer solutions that help drivers manage this expense more effectively. GI bill funds and public assistance program are becoming more common forms of payment accepted by CDL truck driving schools. Some schools even offer students the chance to have their tuition costs waived on the condition they will work for a given carrier for a period of time.
This is a great strategy for carriers who own their own trucking schools and want to ensure their drivers adhere to certain standards for training. The cost of entering trucking has always been a factor for new drivers. Given the driver shortage, it is wise for carriers to make things as easy as possible.