Truck Driving Academy graduates in high demand

Half a million truckers needed in next 5 years

EUCLID, Ohio - Denise Hill is a mother of three in her 50s. She is also starting a new career as a truck driver.

Hill expects to take her Ohio Commercial Drivers License test in the next couple weeks and she already has several job offers to consider.

According to Cuyahoga Community College Truck Driving Academy Program Manager Kreigh Spahr, Hill is typical of the students his driving school graduates.

"We get them through the training in four weeks. They test the fifth week. In six weeks the should be at their new job," said Spahr, a lifelong trucker who said he's logged nearly 3 million miles.

"According to the American Trucking Association, we need 150,000 truckers today," Spahr said. "Within the next five years we're going to need a half a million truck drivers."

Spahr said the the starting salary for a newly-licensed truck driver ranges between $35,000 and $45,000. He said new drivers will frequently be away from home, but once they prove themselves, can find local or regional work closer to their families.

Spahr said potential truck drivers need a good driving record, minimal criminal history and must pass the Ohio Commercial Driving License (CDL) test. Drivers are also subject to medical and drug tests.

Spahr said trucking companies are eager to hire his graduates.

"A lot of the companies that hire from us will actually give these people a pre-hire commitment," Spahr said. "Most of the companies will have tuition reimbursement, which will pay them back at about $150 a month."

The cost of the Tri-C program is $5,495.

"For those that don't have the money, we try to help them find funding through Ohio Job and Family Services, the Employment Connection, grants, endowments -- there's a lot of other ways we can get this paid for them." Spahr said.

For more information, here is a link to the Tri-C truck driver training website:

www.tri-c.edu/workforce/transportation/Pages/ClassACDLTraining.aspx

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