Commercial truckers walk away from training and get stuck with debt
- Commercial trucking companies may be sending new prospective employees to training schools only to be left with massive debt and little in the way of job prospects, Bloomberg reports.
- An aging workforce and immediate need for applicants are a large part of the reason behind the creation of several "fly-by-night" training operations, Harry Kowalchyk, president of the National Tractor Trailer School, told Bloomberg. Several trucking companies have faced lawsuits that have either prevented them from collecting on these debts or have forced them to pay restitution to drivers harmed by the practice.
- A growing number of Americans are being left with debt from blue-collar jobs, adding to the already massive $1.4 trillion in U.S. student loan debt.
Anytime a company promises a job after taking a paid training program, new hires have to expect there will be some kind of catch. In most cases, training requires a commitment of at least a year of working for the company to recoup the expenses of obtaining a CDL and learning how to safely operate large commercial vehicles.
According to recent figures, trucking school can cost between $3,000 to as much as $7,000 for a program, and to obtain an CDL it costs $40 just for the road test. Most people don't have this kind of money laying around, so they accept a contract where the company pays for the training and then they work for the company afterwards. If they leave before the contractual agreement is completed, however, they are stuck with paying the company back. Is this fair?
Some say, it is because of the high costs associated with training drivers. Others say that truck driving training should not be in the hands of actual trucking companies and instead be a separate school. But with low wages and dangerous working conditions, what are drivers to do if they are not being treated fairly by an employer?
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