Long-haul trucking could be new career

By Maggie Hockenberry

Published 07/16 2014 11:12AM

Updated 07/16 2014 11:16AM

MATTOON --There are fewer truckers on the road, so Lake Land College is offering a program for anyone interested in learning how to drive. WCIA-3's Maggie Hockenberry finds out what life behind the wheel has to offer.

The demand for truck drivers is at the highest its been in years. That's why the program Lake Land offers is a great option for people looking for a new career.

"Right now is a pretty crucial time in the industry with government regulations that are new and it's forcing a lot of companies to add trucks because the way the drivers work."

Truck driver Gary Finch encourages drivers of all ages to get certified because long-hauling is a growing industry. Steve Pollum spent most of his career as a police officer and now he's making his way to the open road.

"After 30 years, I was looking for a career change."

Students must complete a 160-hour course; from backing to parking to safety regulations and it all starts in the classroom. First, the students have a chance to learn in the classroom. Then they get a chance to use this simulator before they hit the road. Then eventually, they're ready to drive one of these.

"I think this is a very open field, a lot of opportunities, whether you're a younger guy, or me, I'm in my early fifties. I think there is some real opportunity out there."

There are other benefits to the trucker lifestyle which Finch didn't realize until he hit the road.

"Just the freedom of driving, actually. You don't necessarily report to somebody day-to-day. You just kind of know what you have to do."

The course has been offered since 1991, but instructors say they've never seen enrollment jump as they have since last winter.

For more information, click here or call (217) 235 - 1282.

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