Local Company Working to Bring More Truck Drivers into an Industry Facing a Shortage

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Truck drivers are in such demand right now many companies are offering lucrative sign-on bonuses.

"For a solo driver they are offering anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000 just to sign on,” truck driver and Elite Trade Academy co-founder Austin Carter said. “Team drivers you can get up to $10,000 to $15,000 a team."

Carter has been a truck driver for over seven years.

He and Sierra Nicole are co-founders of Elite Trade Academy in Dallas. They'll be teaching a CDL entry-level truck driving training course that's a federal requirement starting in February.

They want to help bring new blood into a challenging industry.

"Right now, the average age of a truck driver is about 55 years old,” Elite Trade Academy co-founder Sierra Nicole said. “Like Austin said the shortage was heightened by the pandemic because so many of them have decided to retire early."

There are things you should consider before entering the field.

"The biggest thing is safety,” Carter said. “The other thing is it's not just a job it's a whole lifestyle change. Being able to be away from family. Being able to travel across country."

Carter said despite the challenges he thinks dropping age requirements from 21-to-18 could help bring in more drivers. He also thinks targeting a specific demographic could help.

"I do think if they're trained properly and effectively, I don't think the 18 years of age will be a problem," Carter said.

"Anyone can do it. We specialize in getting more women into the industry because it's not as physical as what we might think."

Their goal is to make training an available option to more people to help better their lives with good wages and better the trucking industry.

"If we all come together with the efforts of just giving awareness that there is opportunity in the trucking industry for the younger generation and specifically women to fill that void that is happening right now," Nicole said.

To learn more about Elite Trade Academy click here.

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