Increased demand for truck drivers leads Hawkeye Community College to recruit more trucking students

posted on Friday, August 13, 2021 in  College News

WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) - Truck drivers are in high demand, and will continue to be for years to come not only in Iowa but across the nation. 

The Hawkeye Community College Regional Transportation Training Center wants to recruit more students. Instructors shared information at an open house event about the driving education programs offered at the facility. 

“Anybody can make a truck driver. Anybody that’s willing to learn,” RTTC Manager Celeste Turner said. 

Full-time and even part-time drivers are needed everywhere. From tankers to farming equipment, to semis and school busses. All types of drivers are in high demand. 

“Every time you go to the grocery store or anywhere. A truck driver brought that stuff there. So without truck drivers, the world would basically stop,” Turner said. 

13,000 positions are expected to be open each year until 2024. The number can rise if more people don’t join the workforce. 

Hawkeye’s commercial driver's license programs are trying to lower that statistic but it’s not an easy task. 

“We’re not going to stay ahead of it so we want to keep moving and keep training and fill the void in the cedar valley and the state and nationwide,” Truck Driving Program Coordinator Ron Bohle said. 

Students at the college who take the six-week course learn the basics of trucking, use simulators, and eventually get behind the wheel. 

“The scenery is the windshield of that truck and that’s a great office view,” Bohle said. 

Some students are even able to obtain their CDL license quicker than six weeks if they put in a little extra work. 

Instructors say the interest in driving has increased a bit due to the high salary that can be made. However, there are many truckers who are retiring, which is causing problems. 

Students at the college range from 18 to as old as 77-years-old. 

“It seems kind of like a fun thing to do. A good skill to have,” trucking student Reece Jacobson said, “I’m going to learn to drive safely on the road, and then I’m going to be planning on hauling some grain from fields to various grain elevators after I’m done here.”

19-year-old Jacobson says he’s looking forward to hitting the road and join an industry that needs a helping hand. 

"Come in and talk to us if you’re even thinking about a class,” Turner said. 

Turner says it will be even harder to get a CDL license come February because drivers will be required to take classes. You'll no longer be able to simply take a test and receive your license at the DMV, which will ultimately lead to safer drivers.

Hawkeye Community College offers driving classes continuously throughout the year. 

You can find out more information by visiting their website or calling 319-296-4286. 

By Diego Hernandez, KWWL News Channel 7

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  1. 6-Week A CDL
  2. Regional Transportation Training Center
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