The trucking industry accounts for more than $5 billion dollars in wage contributions for Kentucky each year according to the American Transportation Research Group. With expectations for the industry to increase in demand, the Kentucky Trucking Association is hoping more individuals will apply for commercial driver positions.
From millennials to unemployed coal miners transitioning to new careers, the trucking industry is looking for more drivers. Truck driving has come a long way since the 70’s-era stereotype of being a “hard and dirty job” says Melissa Zink, Communications Director for the Kentucky Trucking Association. She says the role is now less hands-on and more technology-driven.
“If you can’t operate a smartphone and an ipad in a truck, you are going to have a hard time operating a commercial vehicle.” Said Zink.
Zink believes most millennials are unaware of how the industry has changed. The average age for truck drivers is about 57 to 58 years old.
New applicants are required to have a commercial driver's license (CDL) so the organization is hoping to work with the department of labor to formalize a national truck driver recruitment program.
With close to 90 percent of all communities in the state dependent on trucks to move their products, Zink says the demand is expected to grow.
“If we had a hundred people a month coming to us that would be fabulous. We have members that are able to snatch them [new drivers] up in a minute.” Zink said.
The trucking industry accounts for 1 out of 14 jobs in the state, with an average salary of about $44,000.00 a year.
The Kentucky Trucking Association started a new chapter in Paducah this month.