Truckers are in demand. Trucking schools see surge in applicants – many of them women | New
TUCSON (KVOA) — As the shortage of truck drivers continues, trucking schools are seeing an increase in applicants, many of them women.
The pay and benefits appeal to women of all ages and walks of life. Currently, nearly 16% of all truck drivers are women.
More women are enrolling in trucking school than ever before, nationally and in Tucson.
“I really like it, I appreciate it, the money is awesome,” said Laura Evans, pilot and instructor.
Evans learned to drive three years ago, earning his commercial driver’s license. She now teaches at the HDS Truck Driving Institute in Tucson.
“My daughter had already been driving for 10 years and I knew if she could do it, I could do it. She’s that little thing,” Evans said. “That’s how I started and I love it.”
Evans has seen women between the ages of 18 and 70 go through truck driving programs.
The backgrounds of women who have recently come to school include empty nests, single mothers, caregivers, hairdressers, goat herders, medical professionals, restaurant workers and the list goes on.
“Right now is a tough time for trucking. We have a driver shortage across the country,” said Bob McGill, Chief Financial Officer of HDS Inc., “This is one of the worst we we’ve ever seen. And we can’t buy tractors and trailers because of the supply. The OEMs are also struggling.
McGill says the demand for drivers is so great that they are adding schools to keep up with the number of applicants.
Companies multiply incentives and pay drivers.
A draw for women? The ease of having free time.
“You can do home time,” Evans said, “If I want to take a week’s vacation in Orlando, Florida, go ahead. Tell them I’m going to do my home time then.”
The average starting salary is $50,000. Some HDS drivers earn $77,000 and mentors can earn close to $100,000 a year.
“For truck drivers, that’s never going to go away. Because you always need truck drivers. So the demand will always be there,” Evans said. “I will always have a job.”
HDS is hosting a ladies night on July 14 in Tucson where potential drivers can chat with current drivers for the job. To reserve your place, click here for more details.