Shaky Job Market Drives People to Trucking

Ben Touchstone, Amarillo College Truck Driving Academy Student
Ben Touchstone, Amarillo College Truck Driving Academy Student

After five years at an oil rig, Ben Touchstone was laid off. Leaving him, like many others, looking a for a new start.

"I read the newspaper everyday, everyday I'd find four or five places that needed a truck driver," he said about his job search. "And all of them required a CDL."

Which led him to Amarillo College's Truck Driving Academy. The school prepares students to get their commercial driver's license (CDL).

"Once you have the CDL you can drive a school bus, a greyhound. You will have license to do that," said Robert Mathews, Truck Driving Academy Director of Operations.

Elen Harding joined the class to become a bus driver when her career in nursing took a wrong turn.

"I decided since that's not working out, I'd go here and do something different and make a better life for myself," Harding said.

"People want to go to work. You tell me where you can go for six weeks and come out with a profession," said Mathews.

Mathews says his classes remain full because of the high demand for truck drivers, especially in our area.

"This is I-40 corridor, everything goes past here from coast to coast," he added.

For Touchstone, who has been out of work since November, the opportunity of work is something is doesn't want to pass up.

"I just want a job," he said.

A job in an industry that won't run dry.

The class is divided in two sections, each three weeks long. First they study material for the CDL test. Next, they take theory out on the road.

The course costs about $2,500 with classes starting every month.

Visit the school's website for more information.