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Truck Driver shortage continues to have an impact on the industry

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WIT truck drivers

SIOUX CITY (KTIV) -- They're a common sight on every road in America. Truckers are hauling your goods throughout the country. But a shortage of drivers, could be driving up the price of your products.

However a local college is looking to make an impact.

Just about everything you've ever bought has probably come from the back of a truck. But getting drivers upfront and behind the wheel has been a challenge.

"They move 90 percent of the goods in America," said Brad Leckband, WIT Transportation Specialist. "It's very important that we have truck drivers. If we lose truck drivers the country will shut down. So we need more students to come in"

Getting new students behind the wheel is the goal of administrators at Western Iowa Tech (WIT) Truck Driver Training School.

"There are thousands of jobs that are open," said Leckband. "There are hundreds here in Sioux City that are open. This school here at Western Iowa Tech helps fill those jobs."

Leckband said about 100 students go through the school a year with about 60 percent ending up in the seat. One of those students is Cody Mann.

"People don't know the ins and outs of it and it can be difficult at times," said Mann. "I'm learning a lot."

He's been in the program for about a month and is planning to graduate Thursday. The biggest challenge...

"Pulling a big 53-foot trailer behind you and watching out other people on the road," said Mann.

That's something students learn during this course.

"Right now they are practicing their backing skills behind me," said Leckband. "So they learn how to back into a truck stop, into a loading dock and whatnot."

It's a big responsibility to be a truck driver, something Mann said he understands. Both of his grandfathers were drivers. So he knows how much they're needed.

"There's a shortage," said Mann. "They need people everywhere. I'd like to do it locally because I have young kids. So maybe later on down the road I can do over the road and make more money."

Leckband said, for now, they're focused on getting as many students into the classroom, and into those seats as they can.

He said by next year, drivers wont be able to just walk in and take a test to get their CDL. They'll be required to go through a school.

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Michaela Feldmann

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