CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — At Del Mar's West campus, students are training behind the wheel to meet the demand for truck drivers.
The class is at full capacity with the day program booked solid until April and you can't even get into the night class until the end of June.
Instructors said many of the drivers are getting hired on the spot after completing the five week training program. John Rojas, Director of Transportation Training Services at Del Mar said employers are eager to hire new students to fill vacant roles.
"We're averaging about three-to-four employers every week coming in and every one of them said they would hire every one of our students," Rojas said. "It's been so competitive, they are even offering sign on bonuses to entry level drivers that don't have any experience just to come work for them. That's never happened before and I've been doing this 20 years."
Colin Madsen is one of the students in the program and can't wait to put his training to use.
"Everything from running for the oilfield all the way to grocery stories, anything that goes on the shelves we have to deliver, it's high demand," Madsen said.
Due to supply shortages the country is currently running low on truck drivers. The American Trucking Association estimates the industry is about 80,000 drivers short of what is needed to keep goods moving and shelves stocked.
Assistant Director for transportation training services, Lynette Cervantes said that often times product cannot be moved due to the lack of drivers.
"When you talk to other truck drivers they tell you there is freight sitting on the docks that can't be moved because there are no truck drivers for it," Cervantes said.
With the start of new companies and experienced drivers retiring, trying to maintain a full staff has proved to be more difficult than usual.
According to Rojas, students are able to gain their CDL license in as little as five weeks, with starting pay beginning at around $50,000-85,000 a year.
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