Jones College helping to meet the demand for commercial truck drivers
ELLISVILLE, Miss. (WDAM) - A nationwide shortage of truck drivers has driven up the starting pay for those who are looking to start a commercial driving career.
Walmart recently announced a driver pay increase and said it’s launched a training program to give employees who work in distribution an opportunity to become certified Walmart truck drivers with starting pay between $95,000 - $110,000.
There is such a high demand for truck drivers that most truck driving schools are seeing record enrollment numbers for those who are looking to get their commercial driver’s license (CDL).
According to the American Trucking Association, there was a shortage of around 80,000 truck drivers in the U.S. last year. That shortage has been exacerbated by the COVID pandemic in recent years.
Jones College in Ellisville is also seeing record enrollment in its truck driving classes, filling up months in advance.
Steven Zugg is a driving instructor at Jones College and said the school truck driving class helps students not only get their CDL but also assists them in finding a job after completing the course.
“The first thing we do is have them in the classroom, that’s called truck driving theory, to get them adapted to the truck driving industry,” said Steve.
“Then, we take them over the next several weeks and practice all the maneuvers, and then we take them out on the road and them to shift and get them prepared. Once we do that, we have someone who will come in and test them and they can receive their license.”
There is a four-week commercial driving program and an eight-week driving program for those who are looking to get into the classes at Jones College.
It’s a combination of classroom, hand-on-equipment training and on-road driving.
Classes include fundamental instruction on safety, Department of Transportation rules and regulations, driving practices, air brakes, hazardous materials and emergencies.
Student drivers will learn how to operate diesel-powered vehicles and practice performing vehicle inspections, such as coupling, uncoupling, maneuvering, backing and driving a tractor-trailer truck under varying road and climate conditions.
It also includes loading and unloading cargo, reporting delays or accidents on the road and verifying loads against shipping records.
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