High Schoolers Are Training To Drive 18 Wheelers Amid A Shortage Of Truck Drivers

When thinking about the trucking industry, the first thing that comes to mind about its drivers is that they tend to be older — industry experts say the average trucker is 54 years old. But given the nationwide truck driver shortage, that's now changing.

A high school in California is now training teens to enter the industry through its truck driving school program.

Patterson High School in Patterson, Calif., is one of the first non-vocational high schools in the country to offer a truck-driving program for students.

The elective course, which is open to seniors, is a part of the school's Career Technical Education Program — helping students learn workplace skills through hands-on training.

"A lot of [students] who enroll in the course have never considered trucking as a career," instructor Dave Dein told NPR. "Trucking doesn't have a great reputation and it comes with a lot of misconceptions about what exactly a truck driver is."

Those misconceptions include that the work is dangerous, comes with low pay and and that the hours are unbearable.

"If we don't start promoting trucking to our youth, they only can make decisions on the information that they have," Dein said.

Guiding students through the basics of the trucking industry and trucking safety, Dein teaches not only the regulations to get a commercial driver's license, but also real-world scenarios that truckers face while on the road.

Dein, who has been in the trucking industry since 1988, says his career in trucking began as a way to support himself through college. But after earning his degree and working for a few years, he says he was "called to teaching."

"... but I never left trucking," he said. "I would always either drive on the weekends or part-time not because I had to, but because I enjoyed it."

The industry is suffering from a shortage of workers

Source : https://www.wgbh.org/news/national-news/2021/10/16/high-schoolers-are-training-to-drive-18-wheelers-amid-a-shortage-of-truck-drivers

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