The American Trucking Association reports a national driver shortage, which is true for transportation companies like Dohrn Transfer Company in Rock Island. One local college is working to grow the next generation of truckers with an essential workers training program.
Eastern Iowa Community College received a $100,000 grant from Future Iowa’s Coronavirus Relief Employer Innovation Fund which will fund tuition for 88 students in the college’s manufacturing, front-line leadership and truck driving programs. Paula Arends, EICC’s director of workforce innovation, said the demand for drivers is increasing.
“We’re looking at a 21% increase in the need between now and the next decade,” Arends said.
She said the placement rates are high for students that finish their training programs. “It’s almost always at or near 100%.”
Heather Dohrn, the vice president of marketing for Dohrn Transfer Company in Rock Island, said getting new drivers interested in the field is crucial.
“It really is a great job, it pays well, it’s just a matter of getting people into that pipeline, and that pipeline has started to diminish over time,” she said.
The average age of drivers nationally is 55-years-old, which puts a strain on the industry as they get closer to retirement. A strain the company’s director of safety hopes decreases with the next generation of truckers.
“Older drivers are getting ready to retire in the next few years, which is the largest amount of drivers there are out there,” he said.
An essential job that’s thriving despite the pandemic.
“We’re actually seeing all time highs of business levels right now,” Dohrn said.
“Truck driving really does run everything, you know everything that requires goods and services throughout the country,” Arends said.
For more information about how to enroll in the truck driving certification program, contact Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, visit the link here.