WEST BEND, Wis. (CBS 58) — Ask any local business if they’re having trouble hiring truckers and you’ll likely get the same answer: It’s nearly impossible due to severe labor shortages artwork.
It’s a huge need in southeast Wisconsin, and now a local tech college has a new program aimed at tackling the problem.
Moraine Park Technical College partners with Kreilkamp Trucking, Inc. to create the Wisconsin Regional Truck Driving Academy. It is an eight-week program that culminates in obtaining a commercial driver’s license. The program has the capacity to generate over 70 CDL holders per year. The starting salary for a regional truck driver is approximately $61,000 per year.
“Today is one of the first times we have had a truck driving school,” said Pete Rettler, campus dean of Moraine Park Technical College. “So this partnership with Kreilkamp – where they offered equipment and resources and we provide the faculty – we could never have done it alone.”
“Kreilkamp Trucking, on average, depending on the time of year, I’ve seen 35-50 vacancies. So if you think about your business and you have 50 vacancies, you know it’s very limited” , said Emily Sheely, a hiring manager at Kreilkamp Trucking, Inc.
The country as a whole lacks 80,000 truckers. Many people face obstacles to enter the industry, such as time and money.
“Let’s say you want to get your Class A (commercial driver’s license), you’re going to have to book about 12 weeks and you’re going to have to pay upfront for school,” Sheely said.
Kreilkamp therefore pays for food, hotels and transport during the training. Students also receive a daily salary and will not have to pay for education in advance. In exchange, the students will commit to the company for two years.
“This was an area where we didn’t have the ability to train truckers before, yet it’s our district’s greatest need,” Rettler said.