‘Nobody is applying’: Trucker shortage checks in Texas

AUSTIN (KXAN) — All roads led to a life for Jerome Woods on path.

“Since I was little, I always wanted to be a truck driver,” he told KXAN.

Woods graduated from the locally-based Community Truck Driving School on Thursday with a commercial driver’s license. He also graduated supply chain distress this left store shelves empty and unable to use restaurant menu items across the country. This made Woods a hot meta.

“Perfect timing for me,” he said. “That means I definitely have a place to be.”

Six months after KXAN’s last visit, the school said its 20-person classrooms were filling up faster than ever before. Operations Manager Eldon Featherston said that because of supply chain issues, companies that once hired only experienced truckers now take their students straight from school.

“No one is applying for these jobs and (companies) don’t understand why,” Featherston said. “The money will be made there.”

As of July, roughly 33,000 trucking industry jobs remained unfilled from pre-pandemic levels, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Before COVID-19 there was already a famine.

The Texas Trucking Association president said the Lone Star State faces unique challenges due to its size and the amount of international trade with Mexico.

“Not counting North America, we’re geographically set up to handle too much of a burden to feed the rest of the country,” said President and CEO John Esparza.

It will soon become more difficult to get a CDL in Texas. Currently, a potential driver only needs to pass the required test in order to obtain a driver’s license. As of next February, a belated amendment to federal law will begin that requires classroom and hands-on training.

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