Louisiana's Unfilled Jobs Require Experience, Education

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dda student

Charles Dalton (left), checks his mirrors as his trainer, Jonas Anderson, watches on during truck driving training at Diesel Driving Academy. / Henrietta Wildsmith/ The Times

Louisiana continues to outperform the South as the country's economic recovery remains in doubt, but many jobs in the state requiring experience and higher education remain unfilled.

With the South's lowest unemployment rate — 7.6 percent at the end of July — and what many economic advisors see as a newly adopted pro-business attitude, Louisiana has weathered the nationwide fiscal meltdown better than many other states, but competition for jobs remains stiff.

Competition for the available jobs in Louisiana has allowed employers to be pickier, according to Jacques Lasseigne, director of field operations for the Louisiana Workforce Commission in Shreveport. Many of those jobs aren't what people are looking for and either pay too little or are in a foreign line of work, he said.

But some industries are hurting for labor, Lasseigne said, and trying to fill those vacancies might be an indicator of recovery. Truck drivers, industrial mechanics and almost anyone with medical training are now in demand, he said.

"Trucking reacts to the economy first. If no one is making orders, trucking is the first business to see that hit," said Bruce Busada, president of Louisiana's Diesel Driving Academy. "A truck touches everything."

Busada said companies are hiring truckers because the economy has picked up some. Much of the trucking labor pool is near retirement, he said, and there are fewer people trying to get into the industry. Wages are up and demand for drivers has rarely been higher, he said.

Within the first month at the Diesel Driving Academy, Busada said students usually see two or three companies talking to them about potential jobs.

Kristen Gary, spokeswoman for Christus Shumpert Health Systems, said it is trying to fill vacancies across the board from professional disciplines to support services. Gary said experience and education are essential, but to what point they are requirements depends on the specific job.

Statewide Report

Kurt Foreman, president of the North Louisiana Economic Partnership, attributed Louisiana's ability to hold against poor economic tides in part to a pro-business environment developed by local, state and business leadership as well as the elimination of noncompetitive taxes... Continue Reading...


Congratulations to CVTA Member Hamrick School

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Hamrick School has been named as a 2011 ACCSC School of Distinction

The ACCSC School of Distinction Award is intended to recognize ACCSC-accredited institutions that have demonstrated a commitment to the expectations and rigors of accreditation as well as a commitment to delivering quality educational programs

Hamrick School will be honored at the 2011 Professional Development Conference Awards Ceremony.

Congratulations on this wonderful achievement!

Economic Rebound, Firms' Selectivity Spur Driver Shortage

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By Ileana Morales

LAKELAND | More than 100 people apply every day to Comcar, a trucking company based in Auburndale.

But from that big pool of potential truck drivers, only two or three make the cut.

For trucking companies, the slow pick-up of the economy has revived an issue left on the back burner during the recession.

There's a shortage of qualified truck drivers. It's a nationwide issue, and local companies say the shortage of qualified drivers has already hit or is coming to Polk County. Finding those drivers isn't an easy task for recruiters. They say the industry is still adjusting to stricter regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for screening a driver's criminal, employment and driving history. The main difference is crash and inspection records will now follow a driver from one job to the next.

"Today, I'd say if you have a truck open you need to fill, it's not that you aren't getting applications to fill that truck, but there's a huge amount of people to exclude," said Bob Costello, chief economist for the American Trucking Association.

This shortage isn't yet as bad as it was in 2005, when the country needed another 10,000 drivers, Costello said, but it could get worse. The industry faces an increasing demand to move freight as it tries to find replacements for the older drivers who are beginning to retire. Trucking companies are also being more selective because they can't afford crashes.... Continue Reading...


TMC Transportation’s Darek Paul Named Trucking’s Top Rookie of the Year

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For Immediate Release
Contact:     Brad Bentley
(256) 241-3310
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cash and prizes awarded at Great American Trucking Show

TUSCALOOSA, Ala., (August 2011) - Randall-Reilly Business Media & Information announced TMC Transportation company driver Darek Paul as the winner in its Trucking’s Top Rookie program at a ceremony on Friday, August 26 during the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas.

Paul was chosen for the award by an expert panel of judges, which included representatives from motor carriers, training schools (both public and private), suppliers and trade associations.

As the Top Rookie, Paul won $10,000 in cash and the following prizes:

  • One-year complimentary membership in the National Association of Independent Truckers

  • A Year’s supply of 5-Hour Energy drinks

  • RoadPro Getting Started Living On-The-Go Package

  • NAIT OGIO briefcase and duffle bag

  • American Trucking Associations “Good Stuff Trucks Bring It” package

  • A GPS unit and CB radio from COBRA Electronics

  • 1 year of free access to Pro-Tread training series from Instructional Technologies, Inc.

Paul will be featured in Randall-Reilly’s Student Driver Placement and Pro Trucker publications and in an interview with Midnight Trucking Radio’s Eric Harley.

A Nashville native, Paul received his CDL training at CDI in Christiana, Tenn. Before becoming a driver with TMC, Paul served in the Army for three years and spent 15 months in Iraq. In late August, he also celebrated his one-year anniversary with TMC.

“Darek is a fine young man and we are so proud of him,” says Duane Boswell, VP of Recruiting. “Since he was in orientation and earned the honor roll award for his high test scores Darek has stood out. He performs his job safely, efficiently and most importantly with pride. He is the type of person we wish to hire and attract to the profession. Darek is an excellent representative for this award and our company. We look forward to his future success at TMC.”

The Trucking's Top Rookie contest was created to highlight the opportunities in the truck driving profession and promote the truck driving career choice during a severe shortage of drivers. Carriers were asked to nominate their top rookie who had graduated from a PTDI certified, or NAPFTDS- or CVTA-member driver training school within the past year and had been employed by their trucking company for less than one year. Nominees were judged on their safety performance, customer service and achievements within their organization.

Nine other finalists for the Trucking’s Top Rookie award each received $500 in cash and a variety of other prizes. The other finalists were Jackie Rhodes, Crete Carrier Corp.; Theodore Mueskes, Trimac Transportation; Clayton Tuma, Grand Island Express; Lorissa Strychowskj, MacKinnon Transport; Brian Knott, Maverick Transportation; Matthew Underhill, Con-Way Truckload; Wesley Baker, Cargo Transporters; Christopher Thiel, Grand Island Express and Damon Frazee, Crete Carrier Corporation.

Trucking’s Top Rookie is a partnership between Randall-Reilly, Truckload Carriers Association, Progressive Insurance, the National Association of Independent Truckers, Commercial Vehicle Training Association, Shell ROTELLA, National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools, American Trucking Associations and the Midnight Trucking Radio Network.

SCAMMER ALERT August 31, 2011

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From Steve Brantley, USA Truck, Inc.

I wanted to give your members a heads up that a new Scammer is on the streets, and he is calling your schools pretending to be from USA Truck. He usually goes by the name of James Hayes at phone number 615-975-9326. This person is NOT a representative of USA Truck. If you have any question about the identity of anyone who says they are connected with USA Truck, please call me directly at 479-471-6671.

Here are a few points we would like the schools to know :

  1. There is an individual identifying themselves as a Recruiter for USA Truck, asking for the names of students. He has been using the name James Hayes, or  Joe Tucker. He often leaves a phone number of 615-975-9326.
  2. This person is convincing students that USA Truck has a job for them and will pick them up, if only they wire some money, usually via Western Union. This is a scam.
  3. This person is not affiliated with USAT in any way.
  4. USA Truck will never ask your school for lists of students or phone numbers.
  5. If they have a question about the identity of anyone claiming to be employed by USA Truck, please have them call me at 479-471-6671
  6. If you could call Steve Brantley 479- 471-6671 or cell 501-538-3554  when you  have this gentlemen on the line,  USA will take appropriate action

We thank CVTA Members your cooperation and assitance in this matter.

Best regards,

Steve Brantley
Manager,  Driver Recruiting
USA Truck, Inc.479-471-6671


Trucking Industry Faces Serious Driver Shortage, Higher Pay

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The current shortfall will double in a year to about 300,000 full-time positions, or 10 percent of the workforce.

By Natalie Doss
Bloomberg News

NEW YORK — Trucking companies may face a 30 percent surge in wages by 2014 as rising demand for freight shipments threatens to push the industry's driver shortage to the longest on record.

The current shortfall will double in a year to about 300,000 full-time positions, or 10 percent of the workforce, said Noel Perry, managing director at consultant FTR Associates in Nashville, Ind. A three-year deficiency would top the 300,000 vacancies lasting for about a year in 2004, he said.

A gap between cargo demand and the driver supply adds to evidence that the freight industry is recovering.

This year's gains in cargo tonnage fit "with an economy that is growing very slowly," the American Trucking Associations trade group said last week.

"The truck-driver population is growing at less than 1 percent a year," said Jeff Kauffman, a Sterne Agee & Leach analyst in New York who follows truck and railroad stocks. "Freight's growing at closer to 4 percent."

The shortfalls seen in previous freight rebounds are getting a new twist, according to Perry. Federal safety regulations curbing drivers' work hours mean companies must have more employees. Also now in place are rules helping companies assess applicants' driving histories — weeding out bad risks while also shrinking the pool of applicants.

Rising wages would add to the cost pressures from a bigger workforce and higher prices for new trucks required by federal emissions rules.

Truckers also are paying more for diesel fuel, which averaged 30 percent more a gallon this year through Aug. 23 than the same period in 2010, putting them at a competitive disadvantage to railroads' superior efficiency.

"Truck is more expensive than rail already," Kauffman said. "If it was purely a decision based on price, I probably already have moved to rail. But the flip side is, there's a service difference" favoring truckers because of their greater speed.

Drivers are in short supply even as joblessness exceeds 9 percent. Company-employed drivers, who don't own their rigs, earn average salaries in the mid-$40,000 range, based on figures from the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association. FTR's Perry estimated a driver's typical tenure at one year.

"If I get laid off, I'm not going to immediately go drive a truck," said Bob Costello, the trucking association's chief economist. "I'm going to try to get another job in my field, something where I'm home every night."

Trucking-labor costs declined during the recession, so some of the projected wage increases will be "catch-up," according to Perry, who predicted the 30 percent boost in wages by 2014.

"If we decide to raise rates for drivers, conversely we're going to raise rates for customers," Con-way's Johnson said.

That may affect consumers through higher prices, according to the National Industrial Transportation League, a trade group for large shippers.

At Con-way's truckload unit, some routes are being limited to only four to five states so drivers can be home once a week. A new "lifestyle" program allows drivers to alternate between two weeks of driving and time off.

"Young drivers get in and sometimes they're not aware of what it takes to be a driver, especially if they have got kids at home," said Miles Verhoef, an independent owner-operator from Tomah, Wis., who worked as a company driver for 16 years. "It's very hard on family life."

Shippers and truckers also are shifting some loads to railroads to avoid long highway drives. Revenue from so-called intermodal cargos, which can move by road, rail and ship, rose last quarter at each of the four biggest publicly traded U.S. railroads.

For a permanent fix to the industry's shortages, Perry estimated that long-haul novices earning $40,000 annually and experienced drivers at $70,000 would need to see increases that might top his projection of a 30 percent boost by 2014.

"What does it take to make a normal person happy with being away from home two straight weeks?" Perry said. "The rule of thumb is we'll probably have to pay these guys between $60,000 and $90,000."

Scammer Alert August 26, 2011 Third Notice

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From Todd Hyland,  Placement Director, Smith and Solomon

USA Truck called me this morning to make me aware of a scammer posing as a USA Truck employee.  He is using two aliases, James Hayes or Joe Tucker.  The number he is giving out is 615-975-9326.

He is calling schools asking for names/numbers of graduates.  He is then calling these grads and telling them he has a job for them at USA Truck.  Students just need to wire him money via Western Union.

If you get a call from someone claiming to be with USA Truck you can call 479-471-6671.  That is their recruiting department.  They will be able to verify whether the person is a USA Truck employee or not.