James Stanchfield, who used to work for a carpet cleaning company, recently began a new career as a truck driver at IITR Truck School in Clackamas.
“I love to drive. I have since I was a little kid. When I get stressed or when I just want to clear my mind, I drive,” said Stanchfield.
According to the Oregon Trucking Association, there is a nationwide shortage of close to 50,000 drivers, which has local companies competing for a limited resource.
Stanchfield, for instance, got a job offer before he even completed his four-week course at IITR.
“We get calls daily on people needing drivers. Companies I never thought would hire entry level drivers are now hiring them,” said Amanda Watson, IITR’s School Director.
According to the OTA, trucks haul 70 percent of the nation’s freight, and close to 80 percent of the freight in Oregon.
A shortage of drivers means costs go up for companies shipping their products, and those costs are passed down to consumers.
“Everything they touch, everything they buy, everything they need, and everything they use is on a truck at some point,” said Jana Jarvis, president of the Oregon Trucking Association.
But the shortage of drivers turned into an opportunity for people like Stanchfield, who can step into a new job starting at between $19 and $20 per hour.