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More students in Piedmont working to become truck drivers

FOX8 News
FOX8 News
 2021-12-31

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(WGHP) — About a dozen students watched as instructors at a Greensboro driving school trained student drivers.

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“There’s…a need for truck drivers. The ports and everything…are just backed up like crazy,” said Angela Brown, branch manager at 160 Driving Academy.

Class sizes are getting larger at 160 Driving Academy. They have seen a surge in students seeking CDLs.

“We’ve gone from like two students to like 8 students per classroom per week. So it has increased,” Brown said.

One of the driving factors getting more people on the road is a bigger paycheck.

“Absolutely the pay,” sayid Dequenton Williams.

Recent reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show North Carolina will need 7,000 drivers by 2026 to keep up with demand.

That creates opportunities for people like Williams who enrolled in the academy two weeks ago.

“That’s life-changing. It’s kind of a New Year’s resolution of mine. I just want to be in a better financial place in my life. That’s one of the reasons I chose trucking school,” he said.

Mike Faggart, the lead instructor at 160 Driving Academy, has been in the trucking industry for more than three decades.

“The pay when I started here 30 years ago was 28 cents a mile, and now you’re seeing minimum 50 cents a mile, so the pay has doubled in 30 years, but it’s increasing every day,” he said.

The number of drivers is likely to grow when a federal mandate goes into effect early next year.

“Come Feb. 7, 2022, that everyone who wants a CDL B or A is going to have to go to a school. That has actually made people want to hurry and jump in before that mandate happens,” Pamela Day said.

Day is the owner of Cross-Country Truck Driving School in Burlington and has seen a 40% increase in student enrollment.

“Since being out for the holidays, we closed on the 22nd. I’ve gotten over 15 applications of people that want to walk in on the third when we open back up on Monday. We are really on a surge right now, and it’s incredible,” she said.

Day says as more industries and businesses are investing in and surrounding the Triad, it creates a lane of new opportunities.

“With Amazon coming, FedEx has a new hub. Randolph County is getting a new situation, so very excited about that. That’s causing people to understand they are going to need not only truck drivers, but different things within the logistics like forklifts and other equipment,” Day said.

Employees at 160 Driving Academy say it’s hard to say if the increase will offset the high demand of drivers.

If you are interested, there are sponsorships that can ease the financial burden.

For more information, you can give them a call at (336) 276-2938 or visit their website .

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