ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The overall job recovery may remain slow, but one career is driving full speed ahead. The Truckload Carriers Associaton says there are currently as many as 200,000 job openings nationwide for long haul truckers. One Rockford man is hoping to hit the open road.
“I have two little girls so I’d like to be home as much as I can." With long drives and longer hours, Dennis Michels knew becoming a truck driver would keep him from home. But that didn't stop him from joining the Rock Valley College truck driver training program. "There’s a strong future in truck driving, so it was a good match for some of the skills that I’ve had in my past,” said Michels. For Michels, finding a job after getting certified might be easier than he thought. "There’s a big shortage in drivers, and there's no projection that that's going end anytime in the near future,” said Michels.
As an instructor at RVC's driver program Cliff Parsons sees more people wanting to get behind the wheel. A truck driver for more than 30 years, he says the need isn't the only attraction for students. "A lot of students that come in and go through our program, they have lost their jobs, and they want to get into something that has more job security," said Parsons.
Parsons says their program has grown by 10 students in the last few months. He says the need for more drivers could mean a better economy. "As we see the economy start to move, we're also seeing the need for products having to move," said Parsons. Before any student can hit the open road, they have to pay almost $4,000 in training. According to instructors at RVC, the starting salary for truck drivers range from $35,000-45,000.