New Kansas City Packaging, Shipping Projects to Increase Demand for Truck Drivers

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Corporate expansions and a recovering economy fuel an already acute demand for new truck drivers in Missouri. In response, Roadmaster Drivers School’s Kansas City facility is forming new classes every week.

The training, while intensive as trucking requires the mastery of a number of complex new skills, is relatively brief: about four weeks from beginning to end.

This is a new day for trucking, an industry that’s vital to the U.S. economy and dependent on a steady stream of new, well trained, motivated drivers.

Recent announcements by Federal Express and the Kansas-based firm Bennett Packaging point to an increase in employment opportunity in western Missouri, especially for truck drivers. Brad Ball, President, Roadmaster Drivers School, says, “There was already a trucker shortage in Missouri, and these developments simply make it more acute. Fortunately, job-seekers are stepping up to fill the need; we’re seeing a definite upsurge in demand for training at our facility in Kansas City.”

In late September, notes Ball, a Missouri firm, Lee’s Summit-based Bennett Packaging, announced plans to build a nearly $70 million campus in Kansas City. The company, a designer of corrugated packaging and retail displays, plans to transfer the core of its operations to the new 524,000-sq-ft corporate facility.(1) Less than a week later, FedEx Ground announced plans to begin operations in October out of a 548,500-sq-ft package distribution center in Kansas City’s Northland Park. The new center is expected to create approximately 300 jobs upon opening, a count the city plans to grow to support increased demand for service in the area.(2)

Both operations will be heavily reliant on truck drivers, which were already somewhat scarce in the Show Me State. In late 2018, in fact, the governor of Missouri, Mike Parsons, announced that he was considering certain regulatory changes to address the state’s trucker shortage.(3) Two years later, according to a recent announcement from the Des Moines Area Community College Transportation Institute, the problem continues.(4) More recently, meanwhile, truck manufacturers have announced an upsurge of orders for new heavy Class 8 trucks. Figures from key industry data source FTR Intelligence show September orders for new Class 8 trucks are up 55% from August, and 160% from September 2019—a development FTR Intelligence interprets as a sign that a post-COVID economy is in sight.(5)

For these new trucks to perform their role in supporting the economy, of course, someone has to drive them. In Missouri, notes Ball, to help ease the state’s trucker shortage—and, he adds, to help its students launch new, stable, long-term careers—the Roadmaster Kansas City school, located in the suburb of Grandview, is forming new classes weekly. “If you are a Missourian seeking to start a new career, take a look at the possibilities trucking has to offer” Ball says. The training, he notes, while intensive (trucking requires the mastery of a number of complex new skills), is relatively brief: about four weeks from beginning to end. The demand for new drivers is such that many trucking firms will pay tuition reimbursement to cover the cost of training once hired

Employers, says Ball, are also seeking a more diverse workforce than the traditional truck-driver image suggests. “This is a new day for trucking, an industry that’s vital to the U.S. economy and dependent on a steady stream of new, well trained, motivated drivers. If you’re not sure what you want to do next, it might very well be the right place for you.”

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 100,000 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 Roadmasters

1. “Lee's Summit Company Plans $70M Campus in KC.” Springfield Business Journal, sbj.net/stories/lees-summit-company-plans-70m-campus-in-kc,70801.
2. “FedEx Ground Will Hire 300 for in Kansas City's Northland Park.” FOX 4 Kansas City WDAF-TV | News, Weather, Sports, FOX 4 Kansas City WDAF-TV | News, Weather, Sports, 29 Sept. 2020, fox4kc.com/news/fedex-ground-will-hire-300-for-in-kansas-citys-northland-park/.
3. “Gov. Parson Considers Ways to Address Trucker Shortage.” KCTV Kansas City, 20 Sept. 2018, kctv5.com/news/gov-parson-considers-ways-to-address-trucker-shortage/article_66e55f2e-bd06-11e8-9195-3f0e2d258144.html
4. “Trucking Industry Still Looking for More Missouri Drivers.” KTTN, 18 Sept. 2020, kttn.com/trucking-industry-still-looking-for-more-missouri-drivers/.
5. Fisher, Josh. “Heavy-duty truck orders rebounding from COVID slump.” American Trucker, Oct. 07 2020, trucker.com/equipment/trucks/article/21143957/heavyduty-truck-orders-rebounding-from-covid-slump.

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