PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — If you came across an empty shelf while shopping over the weekend, you came face to face with the supply chain issue. There is plenty of supply and plenty of demand, but the issue with getting things to consumers starts with a shortage of truck drivers.
From the cab of his rig at the Northbound I-79 Bridgeville Rest Area, Gaston Dabre out of Casper, Wyoming says, “We do need help. There is a lot of work out there, and only a few drivers.”
The supply chain issues may be the most evident with all those ships off the west coast, but the supply chain issues follow white lanes on the highway right to your store shelf. “There are delays in the supply chain and I expect they’re going to continue right through the fourth quarter right up to the holidays.”
Clearly the lack of truckers is a major factor and at All-State Career School where they are training the next truckers, James Cox says they are hearing from the transportation companies daily, “Lately, the demand is incredibly increased. There is more opportunity now for a person to make a decent living. And to come into this field.”
But the truckers already on the road say the places they load and unload are in need of help too. Dabre says, “Some places you go, they just gonna sit down for a half day.” Emmitt Evans from Detroit as he was taking his dog, Tiffany, for a walk in the rest area agreed with Dabre. “Like I had an appointment at 2:00 p.m., and they didn’t get me loaded until 9:00 last night.”
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Muessig says the message to consumers is simple, “Someone’s getting ready for the holidays, put your Christmas list together early order early so your children and your grandchildren are not disappointed.”
But what about becoming part of the driving solution? Cox at All-State Careers says, “Whether your dreams are to make more money to secure your future. To just see the open road, whatever it might be. These are where these people come to find that’s the dream.”
Evans says, “It is a good job.” Or as Dabre puts it, “Anybody want to join us, they are welcome on board, we really really need help.”
Cox says they offer a compact four week course, “It is intense, it is the equivalent to learning a foreign language in just two weeks. And then we have another one it’s a six month program.” The longer program has 10 weeks of classroom work and a lot of different road practice. It is so extensive many companies accept the graduates as if they had a year experience on the road.
At Pitt Ohio, Muessig says they take entry level employees starting them on the dock, them moving into non-CDL sprinter vans, “Promoting them from, there in turn into straight trucks, and then into tractor trailers.” Getting the CDL training along the way.
While it’s a process, Muessig says can take up to five years. He points out most drivers are home every night and, “It’s certainly common at Pitt Ohio for our drivers to make $60,000 to $80,000, and many are making more than that. Some can certainly make over six figures.”
Cox says his trainees are getting a lot of attention, “Multiple times a week, Our students are seeing recruiters, they talk, they’re seeing what they’re looking for, what they can pay them.”
While the money is excellent, Evans and Dabre says you should know the job is demanding. Dabre says, “Right now, there’s a lot of pressure because the demand is really high.”
That demand means men and women interested in exploring the option of hitting the road have plenty of time to make the decision and get the training. And in the meantime the compensation is only getting better.