New efforts underway to recruit truck drivers
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - It’s an industry that continues to be impacted by a lack of workers, and it’s having a big impact on us all. Now, new efforts are underway to fill a nationwide truck driver shortage.
It’s estimated that 80,000 drivers are needed right away, but that number could go even higher. The shortage affects the goods you are able to get and the prices you pay. That’s why the Workforce Centers of South Central Kansas aims to bring more people into the transportation industry.
Dave Harrison is the Executive Director of Workforce Development at FASTPORT, a software development company program that helps other companies set up registered apprenticeship programs. He also serves on the White House supply chain task force trying to solve a nationwide problem.
“Truck drivers and the supportive services like diesel techs, diesel mechanics, the shortage of those folks has affected the supply chain. Companies that traditionally didn’t have to recruit inside the trucking space, are struggling. They’re struggling to find enough qualified people,” said Harrison.
Truck driving employers in Wichita are now learning how to retain current drivers and recruit new populations like veterans and women. At Air Capital Delivery and Warehouse, pay has increased to recruit and retain CDL drivers.
“We have to offer more benefits to this industry to keep things moving because there’s a shortage. Right now, I don’t know of anyone who can start the industry-first year with less than $72,000. So that’s a decent living. Most of our drivers are in the six-figure income, above $100,000 a year for income,” said Jay Danler with Marketing and Sales at Air Capitol Delivery & Warehouse.
He hopes to set up an apprenticeship program to hire and retain more drivers in the Wichita area.
“(The) more efficient we can be in the industry, the more that helps everyone in general. It brings the price of goods down,” said Danler.
Harrison hopes to inspire more people to join this career pathway.
“We don’t have enough drivers. But a lot of that has to do with growth, with capacity. So, we need more drivers to meet that capacity. It’s going to grow, not shrink,” said Harrison.
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