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Three month waitlist for truck driving school as thousands of Tulsans seek job security

Posted at 7:20 PM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-17 13:09:41-04

TULSA, Okla. — There is an urgent need for truck drivers.

According to an American Trucking Association study, the industry is desperately looking to hire more drivers over the next decade to meet a growing shipping demand.

Over the past few months, the Arbuckle Truck Driving School in Tulsa reports a rise of people wanting to learn how to drive 18 wheeler trucks. In fact, the school is so booked up, there is a three month waiting list to get accepted.

Larry Gilliland, a Tulsa father, was lucky enough to land a spot in the course. In three weeks, Gilliland will leave the lot and hit the highway after a four week truck driving training course. After being laid off from his industrial mechanic position due to COVID-19, he started a new career path and turned to trucking.

“If I can make enough to make my family comfortable then I’ll be happy with that,” Gilliland said. “For me, it opened up a lot of doors. It broadened my horizons and made my outlook on everything a little more brighter.”

Gilliland is one of 20 students taking the five-week training course to become a certified trucker. However, as he gears up to hit the road, the amount of applications for new students getting accepted is a total gridlock.

Billy Wall, director of the Arbuckle School, said he thinks the trend is a result of people needing job security during the “new normal.”

“They want something that pays really well right off the bat,” Wall said. “Straight out of school you can make anywhere from $45,000 to almost $100,000 a year.”

The American Trucking Association said the industry needs to hire more than one million new drivers over the next decade to meet up with shipping demands. Before many DMVs temporarily shutdown due to the coronavirus, the industry had a 20% increase in drivers since 2017. Still, the current trends would only swell to over 160,000 drivers by 2028.

Gilliland said he feels a lot more comfortable knowing he’ll have a steady income.

“You got to get commerce from one side of the nation to the other and vice versa," he said. "So, for me, there will always be a job there.”

To find out how you can apply for the Arbuckle Truck Driving School, click here.

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