H-SANTA MARIA

Nov 2, 2012 9:37 PM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Shortage of truck drivers affecting local training schools

A new US job report released on Friday showed employers added 171,000 jobs last month, but the trucking industry is one business that may not be feeling all the benefits of this possible uptick in the community. A report from the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics said the US expects to add 115,000 truck driver jobs per year through 2016, but just over 16,000 Americans a year are wanting those jobs.

Gil Chavez the owner of truck driver institute in Santa Maria says he used to average 150 students per year. It's men and women who are looking to get that class A driver's license so that they can operate a big rig. But, in the last few years, he said he seen business drop nearly 60%.

Chavez said, "the state is just getting a lot more stricter to give out a license, it's a lot more, there's more requirements, you have to be able to have good control of the vehicle to pass the road test, so you need a lot more training. Safety issues, you have to be more knowledgeable about the maintenance and the safety of the vehicle."

Chavez said he's also noticed a lot of young workers don't want to spend long hours on the road away from their families, but he said at the beginning, you need one or two years of experience on the long road before you can come back home for a local job.

But, he said there are so many benefits of becoming a truck driver, like job security. He said there will always be a demand for truckers, and it can pay well. He said a truck driver can make $40,000-$50,000 a year for a local job and $70,000-$80,000 for a long mile job.

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