Keep America Trucking
Every day we learn about the ways in which modern technology is revolutionizing our lives. One of these ways involves the replacement of humans in the workplace. Faster and smarter methods have helped streamline a 21st century economy, but they have also displaced millions of workers in 20th century jobs.
One growing field still dependent on people power is the trucking industry.
According to a 2007 U.S. Department of Transportation report, 71 percent of the United States’ movement of freight (valued at $8.3 trillion) is done by trucking. Industry experts estimate that more than 80 percent of U.S. communities depend exclusively on trucks to deliver such consumer goods as fuel, food, clothing and medicine.
This lifeline to goods and services makes the $650 billion truck driving industry an integral part of the U.S. economy.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the industry directly employs around 3.2 million drivers, and the industry estimates that another 5.5 million are employed thanks to trucking-related jobs. Driving a truck can pay a median salary of $37,000 a year.
Because of retirement, turnover and population growth, the Labor Department predicts that nearly 300,000 drivers will be needed by 2018.
Hoping to meet this demand is SAGE Technical Services, a truck driving school with locations across the country that trains entry-level drivers. SAGE provides a mix of classroom and hands-on training with late model tractors and trailers used by the leading transportation companies.
SAGE found an opportunity to pair up current job opportunities with those needing a permanent career that offers a good starting salary.
In Wyoming, SAGE received a 2-year federal contract to train unemployed or dislocated workers in the Administration for Children and Families’ Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
Obtaining a commercial driver’s license is no easy task. CDL training requires extra education incorporating special regulations that go above and beyond a regular driver’s license.
“The objective of this TANF program is to provide Class A commercial driver’s license training to TANF eligible individuals using a family centered approach,” says Felicia Gaither, Ph.D., regional TANF program manager. “As of fiscal year 2011, 26 individuals have participated in the training program and 16 of those participants---62 percent---have successfully completed the program.”
Of the participants that completed the program located in Cheyenne, 12 (or 75 percent) found jobs with an average hourly wage of $15.70, adds Gaither.