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Enrollment Up At Hayward Trucking School As Driver Shortage Fuels Better Pay

HAYWARD (KPIX) -- As the world's supply chain struggles drag on, more attention is being focused on a years-long shortage of truck drivers. It's a big part of the reason ports are backed up and some shelves have been empty.

That demand is driving up paychecks for first-time drivers. By one estimate the United States is short about 80,000 truck drivers. There's a lot of talk about how to get more people behind the wheel, but doing that is about to get a bit more complicated.

"You might need to come out, and go this way, because you're out of the box right now," explains Jaime Magtalas of A-1 Truck Driving,

Parallel parking, the challenge today at A-1 Truck Driving. At the wheel, Euegene Allen, who is two days away from his Class A commercial driving test.

"I was looking for a new journey, a new journey I'm life," Allen says. "You know, on your way to provide for my family. The trucker shortage. We need a lot of truckers. They provide everything for these stores, as far as grocery stores and all the necessities"

Like many other parts of the economy, truck driving has been hit by the great resignation, just as the demand for freight hits an all time high. That has been driving up driver pay, now rising five times faster than it's historical average.

"This place here, we are getting a lot of students," Magtalas says.

Starting next month, commercial licenses will require this kind of entry level training. Until now, you just had to pass the test.

"These companies that are looking for new drivers, drivers coming out of CDL school, they should be able to get a higher pay rate," Allen says.

"You know, $35 an hour, $40 an hour," Magtalas says of first time drivers.

So will rising pay attract enough drivers when the hours can be tough, with a lot of nights away from home? It's a question our supply chain depends on.

"It all depends on who's out there that wants to do it," Magtalas says. "Who wants to be a truck driver?"

The federal government is looking at a number of things to get more drivers out there, including allowing truckers under 21 to cross state lines. But even with that, and rising pay, some experts think it might be years before the industry is fully staffed again.

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