truck driver

For those who like to make their living behind the wheel, Lancaster County remains a great place to work, even during a pandemic.

Two interconnected factors have contributed to the success of the transportation industry in the county, notes Valerie Hatfield, strategic innovation officer with the Lancaster County Workforce Development Board. The first is its prime location near major transportation routes and East Coast markets, including Philadelphia, Baltimore and New York City. The second is the fact that such a prime location has made the county a hub for warehouses, such as Amazon, Nordstrom and URBN.

“We have a very high location quotient,” she writes in an email, referring to the metric that measures the concentration of a particular industry in a region compared to the national average.

In terms of specialized freight, Lancaster County has double the concentration of employees in local trucking and three and a half times the concentration of employees in long-distance trucking compared to the national average.

“So, it’s a very productive industry for us,” Hatfield writes. “This industry has grown 2.0% in the last 10 years locally and contributes (a half billion) annually to the GDP (1.7%).”

As of the second quarter of 2020, Lancaster County employed 3,910 drivers in the truck transportation industry, including both local and long-distance specialized and general freight trucking, as well as used household and office goods moving. Additionally, there is an anticipated need for 416 new skilled workers annually to meet projected demand.

Truck transportation is one industry that has seen minimal adverse impact from COVID-19, Hatfield writes, noting that transportation and warehousing comprised 12.9% of total unemployment in Lancaster County in November 2020, unchanged from November 2019.

JobsEQ, a labor-market data service, reported over 400 job postings for drivers in Lancaster County over the last 30 days, says Laura O’Neill, business services manager for PA CareerLink Lancaster County. Those postings included 265 jobs for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, 108 jobs for light truck drivers and 95 jobs for shuttle drivers and chauffeurs.

Wages ranges include $84,000, or $40.40 per hour, for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers; $36,000, or $17.50 per hour, for light truck drivers; and $24,287, or $11.70 per hour, for shuttle drivers and chauffeurs.

Among the employers hiring over the past month are SYGMA, The Sherwin-Williams Company, Total Transportation of Mississippi, UPS and Amazon, O’Neill says. Jobs ranged from shuttle and delivery drivers to CDL drivers.

Most heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers attend professional training schools where they learn not only how to maneuver large vehicles but also the laws related to interstate trucking. All long-haul truck drivers must hold a commercial driver’s license. In Pennsylvania, you must be at least 18 to apply for a CDL for driving within the state and 21 for state-to-state driving.

CDLs are issued in three classes based on such factors as type of vehicle and weight. 

PA CareerLink Lancaster County works with several training providers to assist in obtaining a CDL license and can pay up to $10,000 toward training for eligible participants. If you are interested in CDL training, email workforcetriage@jobs4lancaster.com for next steps.

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