What is so wrong with a truck driving job in South Dakota (or anywhere else for that matter)?
The truck driver shortage has hit South Dakota hard and carriers and trucking schools are all doing what they can to interest new drivers. But as they look to the young to replace the ranks of retiring truck drivers, they are meeting either stiff oppostion or disinterest.
In his article "Help wanted: truck drivers" Payton Randle of The Argus Leader writes:
"There are 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the United States, according to the Department of Labor. They’re salaries average about $50,000 a year, but despite that relatively good pay, trucking companies in South Dakota and nationwide still are having trouble getting enough drivers hired.
Baby boomers are retiring and fewer young people are interested in long-haul trucking careers that often require drivers to be away from home for weeks at a time, said Ben Cubitt, senior vice president of Dallas-based Transplace, which manages freight delivery for businesses. Michelle Koch, president of K&J Trucking in Sioux Falls said the average age of a driver at her company is 54. "In the long haul, it’s the time away from home, the missed birthdays, the missed holidays. It's not for everyone," Koch said. "It's not an easy job, so when they’re young and looking at what you're career is going to be they don't say, 'I want to drive truck.'"
The long-haul trucking sector is short about 20,000 drivers, according to the American Trucking Associations. The shortage could hit 111,000 by 2014 if current demographic and market conditions remain the same, the organization added."
So, what is the drawback to starting a truck driving career? It must be very difficult, expensive and prohibitive to get into a good trucking shcool, right?
Well, lets take a look at the requirements of Southeast Technical institute in Sioux Falls.
- Course length: 4 weeks
- Tuition: $3,495
- Registration Requirements: High school diploma or GED, instructional permit & physical with drug screen
That's it? Can it really be that hard to find young people that meet those simple requirements? What is so wrong with making $50K per year while traveling the country? Let us know your thoughts.