Looking to Address Truck Driver Shortage and Boost Ohio’s Economy, Roadmaster to Open New Training Facility

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Coinciding with the Ohio Senate’s bill addressing the shortage of truck drivers in the Buckeye State, Roadmaster Drivers School is set to open a new facility in Columbus. With this custom-built training facility, Roadmaster hopes to be able to help decrease the number of unemployed people in Ohio, while at the same time giving the state economy a boost.

Artist rendering of the new Roadmaster Drivers School facility in Columbus, OH.

New truckers are urgently needed in Ohio, and fortunately, job-seekers are responding; we are already seeing a significant upsurge of demand for training at our new facility in Columbus.

Looking to address Ohio’s high unemployment rate and a shortage of truck drivers, Roadmaster Drivers School is ready to open a new training facility in Columbus, the state’s largest city. While Roadmaster has continually operated in Columbus since 1995, this new custom-built school will open its doors and have its first class on Aug. 17. The 10,000-sq. ft. facility sits on 12 acres in the state capital and will be able to serve approximately 750 students each year.

Meanwhile, the Ohio State Senate is currently considering a bill that would increase training opportunities to meet Ohio’s growing demand for additional truck drivers. House Bill 222, which passed the Ohio House of Representatives with strong bipartisan support, would provide a tax credit for companies that invest in truck-driver training, equal to a total of one-half of the training expenses.(1) “Ohio legislators are to be commended for this timely and forward-looking initiative,” says Brad Ball, President of Roadmaster Drivers School. “New truckers are urgently needed in Ohio, and fortunately, job-seekers are responding; we are already seeing a significant upsurge of demand for training at our new facility in Columbus.”

Ball, whose company is nationally known for quality training of entry-level truck drivers, notes that demand for training has been growing for some time, due to pandemic-driven increases in unemployment. The jobless rate in Ohio, for example, which was at 4.1% in January of this year, rose to 17.6% in April.(2) The rate has dropped somewhat since then, but is still extremely high; more than 35,000 Ohioans filed new unemployment claims for the week ending July 11, with 429,000 filing claims for continued unemployment during the same period.(3) In this context, not just in Ohio but nationwide, says Ball, trucking stands out as an island of employment stability and opportunity.

Long before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Ball points out, there was a severe shortage of truck drivers(4), and the COVID-19 crisis has if anything increased the need for new drivers. As store closures and social distancing have made in-store shopping increasingly difficult, American consumers have turned to ecommerce. According to new research from Adobe Analytics, total U.S. online sales reached $73.2 billion in June, up 76.2% from June of 2019.(5)

To help manage the consequent surge in shipping and handling, Amazon alone has announced plans to hire 100,000 new employees, including drivers, for its U.S. warehouse and delivery operations.(6) And ecommerce is by no means the only area in which truck drivers are, and will continue to be, in high demand. Trucking, notes Ball, moves 71% of all freight shipped in America, and accounts for nearly 6% of all full-time jobs in the country(7).

The training required to enter the profession, he notes, is relatively brief, about four weeks. “Every day,” says Ball, “nationally and in our new facility in Columbus, we’re hearing from people who want to get off the layoff-and-furlough roller coaster and build a new, secure future for themselves.” Roadmaster is currently putting the finishing touches on its new facility in Columbus is opening in August.

About Roadmaster Drivers School:
Roadmaster, headquartered in St. Petersburg, FL, is a nationwide training organization for truckers. They have more than 25 years of experience training more than 150,000 graduates with 13 training locations nationwide. By focusing on giving students the best education and maintaining high job placement standards, Roadmaster has gained a national reputation in the trucking industry for quality training of entry-level commercial truck drivers—noted for their training practices to be the most hands-on and safety-focused training in the country. For more information, visit http://www.roadmaster.com.

1.    Hlavaty, Kaylyn. “House Passes Bill to Address Truck Driver Shortage in Ohio.” WEWS, 21 Feb. 2020, news5cleveland.com/news/democracy-2020/ohio-politics/house-passes-bill-to-address-truck-driver-shortage-in-ohio.
2.    “Ohio Economy at a Glance.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, bls.gov/eag/eag.oh.htm.
3.    Staff, 10TV Web. “More than 30,000 Jobless Claims Filed in Ohio Last Week.” 10tv.Com, WBNS, 4 June 2020, 10tv.com/article/news/local/ohio/more-12-million-ohioans-have-filed-unemployment-claims-last-11-weeks-2020-jun/530.
4.    Long, Heather. “Analysis | America Has a Massive Truck Driver Shortage. Here's Why Few Want an $80,000 Job.” The Washington Post, 28 May 2018, washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/05/28/america-has-a-massive-truck-driver-shortage-heres-why-few-want-an-80000-job/.
5.    Evans, Katie, et al. “As Pandemic Pushes on, Online Sales Grow 76% in June.” Digital Commerce 360, 16 July 2020, digitalcommerce360.com/article/coronavirus-impact-online-retail/.
6.    Mattioli, Dana. “WSJ News Exclusive | Amazon to Hire 100,000 Warehouse and Delivery Workers Amid Coronavirus Shutdowns.” The Wall Street Journal, 17 Mar. 2020, wsj.com/articles/amazon-to-hire-100-000-warehouse-and-delivery-workers-amid-coronavirus-shutdowns-11584387833.
7.    “11 Incredible Facts about the $700 Billion US Trucking Industry | Markets Insider.” Business Insider, Business Insider, markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/trucking-industry-facts-us-truckers-2019-5-1028248577

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Karla Jo Helms
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