CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The nation's overall unemployment rate is the lowest it's been since 2000, which is making it difficult for companies to find enough qualified truck drivers.
The industry hopes to attract new truckers with increased pay and benefits, but still needs to invest in proper training, which can be pricey.
Mark Stojic is the co-owner of TCI, a Commercial Driver's License training service, and says the demand for certified drivers can be seen during your common commute.
"Many trucks you see out on the road are going to have 'Drivers Wanted' signs," Stojic said. "Companies are actively looking for qualified individuals they can put behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle with the intent of growing their business."
Unlike most trucking schools which cost thousands of dollars per student and take four to five weeks to complete, Stojic says TCI offers truck drivers prior experience a way to get hands-on training for the state C-D-L test the same day they take the exam.
Stojic says multiple companies have been reaching out to them because they want an alternative training method that is affordable and less time consuming.
"I met with a company this morning," Stojic said. "As they graduate so to speak their entry level employees into that CDL position they tend to see a much lower turnover rate so they're acquiring a long term employee that is very valuable to their company."
The skills that TCI instructor Shane Goines covers in a five hour training session focuses on what happens in the state test including backup maneuvers, practicing the same road driving test route and making sure their rig is road ready.
"We've got the pre-trip inspection which is something we definitely focus on," Goines said. "Make sure it's safe, make sure your lights work, that you don't have any air leaks that could cause brake failure. We try to take something big and break it down into something simple. You understand the reason why you do things they way you do."
Because demand is up, Goines says TCI plans to expand from one-on-one training sessions to teaching small groups from the same company.
"How can we keep that quality and use the same principles of how we train, how we interact with people," Goines said. "I know how I felt when I first got into it, so having someone that is knowledgeable, courteous, patient it all works out. So we are going to try and copy that and enlarge it but keep the quality there."
To get more drivers behind the wheel, Congress is also considering lowering the interstate truck driving age from 21 to 18.
For more information about TCI CDL Services you can visit their website.