BREINIGSVILLE, Pa. - Truck drivers have been in short supply for years. The pandemic has just made the need even greater.
Andy Plank is the president of Blue Eagle Logistics in Breinigsville. He's so busy, he's moving to a new facility triple the size. But he also needs more manpower, and he's not alone. The shortage has wages in the industry reaching new heights.
"$70,000, you know, those are wages we pay for a class A tractor-trailer driver - in terms of their total compensation - and higher," Plank said.
Mike Glanz is director of operations for CC Training. It runs the CDL program at LCCC. He says rising wages have been driving some interest, but there are still barriers. Federal law prohibits anyone younger than 21 from driving heavy trucks.
"We've never seen the demand from local employers for new graduates like we're seeing right now," Glanz said.
Unemployment and virtual schooling are also playing a huge factor.
"And now that summer's approaching, we're finding out that daycare is a big challenge," Plank said.
Meanwhile, demand is expected to keep accelerating. The American Trucking Association estimates the U.S. will be short nearly 200,000 drivers by 2028.
"The average age for a truck driver is now in the earlier to mid-50-year range, so there's definitely opportunity for people who enjoy that lifestyle," Plank said.
"There's real opportunity out there, and there is no shame making a living driving a truck," Glanz said.