A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

With a shortage of truck drivers in the U.S., KCTCS helps alleviate problem with CDL program

There’s a tremendous shortage of truck drivers in the U.S. – about 300,000, according to Bloomberg. Kentucky is no different, and with more than 13,000 trucking companies in the Commonwealth, that means jobs are plentiful.

Best of all, driving a commercial vehicle pays well. The Kentucky Trucking Association reports in 2016, total trucking industry wages paid in Kentucky exceeded $5.0 billion with an average annual trucking industry salary of $44,843.

“Eighty-nine point two (89.2) percent of Kentucky communities solely rely on trucking to deliver their goods,” Kentucky Trucking Association President/CEO Rick Taylor said. “So there’s opportunity for drivers throughout the state.”

Taylor said because of the demand for drivers, veterans and women should consider the field. Currently, only 5 percent of truck drivers are women, and veterans who have experience in truck driving can earn a CDL quickly.

The Kentucky Community and Technical College is playing a big role in trying to alleviate the shortage of big rig drivers. Several colleges offer commercial drivers license (CDL) programs and four have purchased new CDL simulators, which give students a virtual reality experience.

Trucking leaders attended an open house Thursday at Gateway Community and Technical College to see and try the simulator, see trucks KCTCS colleges use for training and hear more about program offerings.

Speakers at the event included Fernando Figueroa, Gateway president/CEO; Doug Simpson, CDL business partner; Kaleb Thornton, Gateway graduate who is now working as a truck driver; Paul Czarapata, KCTCS vice president; and Taylor. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the shortage of truckers to continue. The average age of a commercial truck driver in the U.S. is 55, so a large number of drivers will retire within the next 10 years.

“We’re proud to be at the forefront of educating the next generation of truck drivers,” Czarapata said. “Our role is to prepare the talent needed to fill jobs all across the state. This is just one of many ways KCTCS is helping alleviate the state’s workforce shortage and grow the economy.”

KCTCS colleges offering CDL programs and contact information:

Ashland Community and Technical College
Chris Boggs
christopher.boggs@kctcs.edu
(606) 326-2482

Big Sandy Community and Technical College (CDL simulator)
Brian Phillips
bphillips0084@kctcs.edu
(606) 788-2923

Gateway Community and Technical College (CDL simulator)
Christi Godman
christi.godman@kctcs.edu
(859) 442-1684

Hazard Community and Technical College (CDL simulator)
Keila Miller
keila.miller@kctcs.edu
(606) 487-3287

Hopkinsville Community College (CDL simulator)
Lanita Wilson
lanita.wilson@kctcs.edu
(270) 707-3750

Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College
Rhonda Barton
rhonda.barton@kctcs.edu
(270) 901-1235

West Kentucky Community and Technical College
Kevin O’Neill
kevin.oneill@kctcs.edu
(270) 534-3206

From Kentucky Community and Technical College

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