RAPID CITY, SD (KOTA TV) - The country is in desperate need of qualified truck drivers.
A new report shows, the nation needs more than 60,000 drivers. Locally, there are 87 positions open within 50 miles of Rapid City. Western Dakota Tech is working to fill the gap by graduating five classes of professional drivers every year.
School officials say many people may not feel like they are qualified for a trucker position, but they encourage people of all walks of life to consider the career. They say it's a great job, not just for men, but women and people with disabilities looking for good paying employment.
"We have students who have graduated from our program and they are making $60,000 a year," said Chandra Calvert, Associate Dean of Advancement at Western Dakota Tech. "Granted they're driving over the road. They're prepared for that lifestyle, but you can stay local and comfortably make what equates to $20 or $25 an hour."
I f those posts go unfilled for too long it could impact your pocketbook.
"Prices of good are going up because of the lack of truck drivers," Calvert said. "So it has impacts all over. If there aren't people to move the goods, then everyone is going to pay the price."
The next class at Western Dakota tech starts June 4 and there are still spots available.
Learn more here: https://www.wdt.edu/corporate-education-center/professional-truck-driving-program.