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Pay gap in trucking industry seen as a factor for lack of drivers, transportation expert says

Area truck driving jobs are around $15-to-23 an hour. However, with companies across the country offering upwards of $100,000, it could be a tough sell.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — While many professions are having a difficult time finding workers, truck drivers are also in major demand, especially for local governments. 

One of the reasons for the shortage at local municipalities is a severe shortage of pay for professional drivers. 

"They hired me on," said Matt Opel, a trucking student with Del Mar College. "I'm going to do another six weeks training with them. And from there it's going to be around $90,000 a year with home every weekend."

Opel was offered a high paying job before he even completed his studies. However, when 3NEWS asked him about the pay for a Nueces County truck driving job, he said the pay difference was very noticeable.

"Yeah it's not as much. Pretty much, you can go and for five weeks and get one of these jobs and pay off your school, which is only about a months worth of work," Opel said. "And they do tuition reimbursement as well, which is really nice."

John Rojas is the Director of Del Mar's Transportation Services Training Program, and said that drivers are not as easy to come across in the current economy. 

"The demand for drivers is so great everybody's looking for them, so they're a lot harder to find," Rojas said. 

A job listing located on the first floor of the Nueces County Courthouse had truck driving jobs set up between $15-to-23 an hour. However, with companies across the country desperately seeking drivers offering upwards of $100,000, it could be a tough sell. 

"They're local. If you want to be home every night, I mean, that's the area we're in. So a lot of these companies, that's what they offer and they never had a problem in the past on filling those positions," Rojas said. "Nowadays with everybody that has raised their pay rate and offering such more appealing packages to these entry level students coming out of school, they're going there."

3NEWS reached out to the county to see how hard it is for them to find and keep professional drivers, but they did not respond.

Del Mar's truck driving program is in demand with a waiting list for students who will have to wait until October to start the five week course. 

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