ANN ARBOR (WWJ) – It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on many industries across the United States over the past two years.
Among those hard-hit industries is truck driving.
Reports show there is a nationwide shortage of truck drivers, more than 80,000 drivers. Here in Michigan, statistics showed that last fall the state lost about 2,600 drivers compared to before the pandemic.
While the so-called shortage was noticeable before 2020, the pandemic only exacerbated things.
A local college, however, has a plan in place to help curb this trend. Washtenaw Community College is partnering with Trainco Truck Driving School in Ohio to try to get more truck drivers back on the road.
WWJ’s Erin Vee spoke with Trainco CEO Mike Moscinski about the WCC’s new three-week commercial driving license training course.
Classes are scheduled to begin in September at the Ann Arbor campus, with additional offerings in October and November, and officials are considering expansion in the future, depending on demand.
Moscinski says industry is “feeling the pressure” — especially small businesses — after the federal government instituted a new requirement that anyone who takes a CDL test must take a CDL training course.
“All the small and medium-sized businesses that were looking to hire people who had just passed the test – everything changed for them,” he said.
Students in the program, which costs just under $5,000, will be trained to pass an exam for their CDL. This will allow them to drive vehicles weighing up to 26,000 lbs, including semi-trailers, tankers, livestock carriers and flatbeds.
The course includes training on hazardous materials, tank trucks, changing different transmissions, coupling and uncoupling trailers, understanding transport regulations and managing road rage.
Moscinski says the industry has “changed a lot” and there are many more changes to come, which is why it’s important to train drivers now.
More information about the training program can be viewed on the WCC website.