By: Jeff Brock
While technological advances have opened the door to countless new opportunities, they’ve also shut the door on employment for some as job skills are replaced by automation. Still, one industry continuing to flourish throughout these changes is transportation. Workers willing to obtain their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) are rewarded with a stable job, fair pay and essential benefits.
I am proud to be a fourth-generation trucker. My family started trucking in the Lincoln Trail Region in the early ages of the industry, so I have grown up immersed in the culture of trucking. After working with my family for decades, I recently opened up my own company, Jeff Brock Trucking, and I love the freedom I have as a business owner. To be honest, I have always found a sense of freedom within the industry, though. Because there are so many opportunities, good drivers have endless options for choosing the company and job that works best for their situation.
Consider the number of products large companies such as Walmart and Target ship across the country, not to mention the millions of other online-based retailers. COVID-19 has led many more consumers to turn to online shopping, a booming industry that could not run successfully without the support of truck drivers. Consequently, as the need for drivers increases, companies are raising their offerings. CDL drivers in the Lincoln Trail region can expect a starting salary of around $48,000, which generally includes paid time off, fuel discounts, a referral program and a 401(k) in addition to the more personal benefits.
In my time as a trucker, I have traveled to every continental state and made stops in many unique places that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to visit otherwise. My favorite jobs have always been the ones that take me through the northwestern part of the country, where I am captivated by the mountainous landscapes. No office cubicle can provide that view.
There are seemingly limitless CDL career opportunities in our area and across the country for those who have a clean driving record. If you are reliable, trustworthy, and would like to meet new people and see new places, trucking may be a good fit. The great news is, if you or someone you know is interested in earning your CDL, you can do so in just four weeks at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College (ECTC).
The ECTC program is designed for individuals with little or no commercial driving experience and includes everything you need to become a successful CDL driver. New classes start each month, and students can register at any time, although class size is limited. The program consists of 160 hours of yard and road skills as well as classroom activities. Participants are also eligible for the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship, which may provide up to 60 credit hours tuition-free. Upon completing the program, students will receive a certificate, the department of transportation rules and regulations, logbooks, map reading assistance and trip planning guidelines.
The Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail, through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), can also provide funding for CDL training. Applicants receive a grant to attend courses, build their skillset and obtain reliable employment. WIOA funding has already helped multiple Lincoln Trail residents secure new positions. To learn more contact the career center by visiting ltcareercenter.org.
If working in an in-demand career with exciting opportunities sounds like a good fit for you, visit the ECTC website. Your future career could be waiting!
Jeff Brock is a CDL driver and owner of Jeff Brock Trucking.