Holidays see need for truck drivers, but there's a shortage

Truck drivers are in high demand this holiday season, Nov. 17, 2017. (SBG)

CRESWELL, Ore. -- Truck drivers are in high demand this holiday season.

“There's really no time to rest or anything like that - you get your 10-hour reset and then you're just back on the road,” says Chandrick Washington, a truck driver from Florida moving shipments for Best Buy, one of the top electronic stores in the country. “Normally we would have a day of downtime, but as soon as I drop off this trailer I got another one coming right back up to Portland.”

He 's one of many drivers in high demand around the country and locally here in Oregon.

“Our students used to have to go over the road at least two years to get a local job and we have seen in the last year that local companies have a shortage as well,” says Rosie Edwards, placement director for IITR Truck School in Creswell.

“Most of the drivers are doing things for other companies, and sometimes we even help with different accounts too, so it gets real busy,” says Washington.

Companies like Umpqua Dairy, Cisco and Food Services of America are now bigger, and companies have reached out to the truck school wanting to hire their students, Edwards says. “We recently had UPS contact us and as well as FedEx."

Her husband also works for IITR Truck School as a recruiter. He says truck drivers are retiring and the trade isn't continuing in the family.

“Your uncle, your dad or your grandpa, how to drive trucks," explains Don Edwards, "and now they teach them how to do other trades, such as computers and things of that nature." He says he believes another possible factor that adds to the shortage is the prohibiting of marijuana use.

“Anyone that calls here that wants to go to our school, we have to tell them you have to pass a drug screen, including the use of marijuana, so that's a bit of a factor I believe,” says Don Edwards.

And that makes drivers like Chandrick Washington more valuable this holiday season.

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