A shortage of truck drivers has sparked a program to address the need.
Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann on Wednesday announced an ongoing six-week training program to help supply certified truck drivers for the growing logistics industry in Wells and surrounding counties.
Each course will have 20 students, and the state Department of Workforce Development will cover the $4,000 cost of the class. Candidates applying for the grant must be unemployed, underemployed or have recently received their GED.
This month, the American Trucking Associations said that the annualized turnover rate at large truckload fleets rose 2 percentage points to 99 percent in the second quarter of the year.
Those numbers dont surprise Tim Ehlerding, executive director of Wells County Economic Development. He helped initiate the CDL program.
I know of 25 openings right now, he said. Its not just in Wells County but all over northeast Indiana. I got together with WorkOne and Ivy Tech and said lets start a program.
Ehlerding and other officials gathered Wednesday at Peytons Northern Distribution Center in Bluffton. The company, which works with Kroger Co., has 1,200 employees, Ehlerding said.
We have to have a better way to make sure we have people in these jobs, he said, adding that a $55,000 annual salary is common for truck drivers. A lot of people dont want to be away from home five days, and many trucking companies are adjusting by becoming more regionalized, so that drivers dont have those long hauls. More and more firms are telling drivers they will be home in 24 hours.
Ellspermann applauds the agencies that came together for the effort.
I commend Tim Ehlerding and his team at Wells County Economic Development, our staff at WorkOne, and the Fort Wayne campus of Ivy Tech for their efforts.
I am (sure) that we will have similar initiatives in all regions of the state in the coming months, she said in a statement.
Interested candidates can contact their local WorkOne office.