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ST. LOUIS – The trucking industry will have no shortage of driver challenges in 2021 as St. Louis Community College is joining others in the state in training the next generation of truck drivers.

Rene Dulle Manager for St. Louis Community College’s Workforce Solutions division says although COVID-related restrictions are in place attracting new drivers for the program has not been difficult.

“Every company is looking for drivers”, said Dulle. “Our students can complete training in 5 weeks and immediately start a new career with an average annual starting pay of about $50,000”. She went on to say that most professional truck drivers are paid based on the number of miles driven. 

The CDL Truck Driver Training program offered at St. Louis Community College provides students with the skills needed to become an entry-level over-the-road or local truck driver.

“Our students learn a lot,” said Dulle. “They are able to get in 160 hours of behind-the-wheel time and really focus on backing maneuvers, safety, and FMCSR regulations”.

Studies show the national shortage of truck drivers is between 75,000 to 100,000, but the demand for drivers surged in the 2nd and 3rd quarter of 2020, proving the industry to be pandemic proof. 

“There’s no shortage of jobs, in fact, they’ve increased during COVID”, she said.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Dulle explained volumes have increased for many items, especially with the vaccine production resulting in more options than ever for new drivers in the industry. 

“Our graduates really do have choices regarding the type of work they want to do long haul, local, or construction and what company to work for”, she said.

The next group of STLCC truck drivers are expected to graduate in March 2021.

Click here for Weekly Information Sessions about St. Louis Community College’s Truck Driving program every Thursday at 9:30 a.m.