Students Line Up to Be Truck Drivers

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, May. 14, 2012 12:00 am  

Arkansas schools are seeing more students who want to be truck drivers. That's good news for the trucking industry, which is seeing a shortage of drivers and a high turnover rate.

The turnover rate for truck drivers stands at 88 percent for the fourth quarter of 2011, which was down 1 percentage point from the previous quarter, according to the American Trucking Associations of Arlington, Va. But the rate is projected to climb.

See also Driver Shortage Troubles Trucking Firms.

To prevent the driver shortage from becoming worse, the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services in September revived its Truck Driver Training Pilot Initiative after suspending it in late 2009 because of the Great Recession, according to a DWS news release.

"The transportation industry is now experiencing a shortage of qualified truck drivers," Kimberly Friedman, a DWS spokeswoman, said in the September news release.

DWS has partnered with Arkansas State University at Newport and the Arkansas Trucking Association to start the program, which forgives the student's tuition and related expenses if the student completes the four-week training and remains in a job for at least a year.

Since the program started, 67 people have graduated. More than 100 trucking jobs still were open as of April 24, Friedman said in the news release.

CalArk International Inc. of Little Rock said last week that it is planning to revive its training program, which had been dormant for more than five years, said CEO Rochelle Bartholomew.

She said she didn't have a timeline for when the training program would start.

Maverick USA Inc. of North Little Rock sends two recruiters to driving schools looking for future drivers, said Brad Vaughn, director of recruiting. "We found that to be really effective," he said.

Waiting List

At the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, classes to become a truck driver are full until the first of July, said Pat Eller, director of the center for business and professional development.



Please read our comments policy before commenting.