Southern Ill. college seeing uptick in trucking courses as national truck driver shortage continues

Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 5:53 PM CDT
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ULLIN, Ill. (KFVS) - U.S. companies are still being impacted by a shortage of truckers.

According to the American Trucking Association, the industry needs 10′s of thousands of new truck drivers.

The Shawnee Community College is seeing more interest in the training it offers to put more commercial drivers on the road.

“Trucking companies are pretty much begging for drivers right now,” said Kelly Jennings, truck driving coordinator at Shawnee Community College.

He knows how critical it is to fill those truck driving positions.

“Going forward, if there’s a driver shortage, then it’s as simple as supply and demand. If demand for a certain product goes up, then there are not enough drivers to fill that demand then the prices are going to just keep raising and raising,” said Jennings.

The college is seeing an uptick in students seeking to get their Commercial Driver’s License.

Jennings said their classes fill up quick each semester due to the limited number of students allowed into a class.

Erik Schmidt is going to be a prospective student in the truck driving course. He said the number of opportunities in the trucking industry drove him to get his CDL.

“The job opportunities are starting to increase greatly, the pay is starting to get better, and I really enjoy being on the road now, so it’s something else I wanted to do,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt had some advice for someone wanting to get their CDL and drive.

“The number of truckers that are out there, it’s great, they need a lot more. Everybody is hiring out there that I can see, there’s signs everywhere for truck drivers being hired so you can get a job if you put your mind to it,” he said.

Jennings said his students are getting hired right after finishing their CDL training.

“If you want a job making a livable wage, and you don’t want to have to go to college for two or three years, four years to do it. Truck driving is a seven-week course,” Jennings said. “We can have you out the door and making 60,000 dollars a year the first year right out of CDL class.”

With the shortage, Jennings knows the value of future truck drivers.

“Is absolutely important to fill all the truck driving spots that are available right now,” he said.

Shawnee Community College is thinking of offering night classes to get your CDL. If you are interested in that, you can contact the college.

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