Fort Dodge region needs more truck drivers

Efforts to expand Iowa Central Community College program deserve support

Anyone who heads out on the road in Webster County or any of the nearby counties can’t help but notice that there are a lot of trucks traveling in the area.

And despite the large number of trucks someone might see, the reality is that our region’s economy needs even more truck transportation. Within the region, transportation and warehousing is the second largest growing industry, behind only manufacturing.

The limiting factor is the number of people with commercial drivers licenses who can take the driving jobs.

In the Fort Dodge region, there are 6,000 open jobs in the transportation and material moving industry. A comparison of our area’s transportation job openings with others across the country shows the area has a lot more open jobs than the national average. By some estimates, the local area has 1,000 more openings than the national average in that field.

If those positions could be filled, more local residents would be earning a good living while businesses grow and profit.

Iowa Central Community College has been training people to earn commercial drivers licenses and become truckers for more than 20 years. Many of the drivers steering big rigs around our region got their start by training at Iowa Central.

About eight months ago, the college introduced a competency based education program that enables people to earn their commercial drivers license in 30 days or less, depending on what kind of previous experience they have.

Graduates of the Iowa Central driving program have taken jobs with big over-the-road haulers, and they have also been hired by cooperatives, warehousing businesses and distributors whose workload is mostly right in the area.

Iowa Central’s leadership team is considering ways to grow the driving program to meet the need in this region. The college’s East Campus on Quail Avenue was formerly the home of Smithway Motor Xpress and could be an ideal home for an expanded program.

Getting instructors and trucks out into some of the surrounding communities to reach potential students there is a worthwhile objective also.

We encourage the college’s board, administration and faculty to pursue grants and any other funding opportunities that will make it possible to grow the driving program to meet the obvious needs in our area.


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