Anytime you get on the highway you’ll likely see a truck or bus, whether shipping, hauling, or delivering local goods; trucks and buses are on the road.
“Everything you own was on a truck at one point in time,” said Matt Dumbaugh, an instructor with Mission Logistics.
Dumbaugh has driven trucks and trained drivers for more than 30 years and said the industry is rapidly shrinking with more drivers retiring than entering the field.
We asked Dumbaugh what would happen if more young people don’t eventually enter the trucking industry.
His response was straightforward.
“If we have nobody younger coming into the industry, the industry will die, and too will the country,” said Dumbaugh.
Last year Pennsylvania needed roughly 4,000 new CDL drivers. Nationwide, that number was upwards of 80,000. This is why the Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania launched a program that will provide young people with their commercial driver’s license or CDL for free.
“It costs around $5,700 for someone to receive their CDL training and financial aid does not cover that cost,” said Youth Works Director Tiffanee Heywood.
Heywood explained that by removing the financial barrier anyone who lives in Allegheny County and is between the ages of 18 to 24 can enroll.
Once students are admitted into the program, they receive one-on-one instruction and real-world training.
“They learn how to handle the truck and the trailer, they learn close maneuvering drills backing, your parking, how to load the trucks and trailer properly,” Dumbaugh explained.
Students are also paid a stipend of between $100 to $150 a week and offered a paid externship upon program completion.
“You can actually come out with your CDL making around $40,000 and up driving in-state that is a livable wage for young people around here,” Heywood said.
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