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DMACC's Transportation Institute helps students hit the road amid trucker shortage

The DMACC Transportation Institute is getting into high gear to ensure students get the skills they need to help with a shortage of truck drivers.

ANKENY, Iowa — Tabitha Feldman had no experience coming into DMACC's trucking program, but she's learning the skills she needs to get on the road—at a time when truck drivers are in high demand.

"Over the last five weeks or so I've really learned a lot," she said.

Feldman wants anyone who may be hesitant about this career path to know that it's worth consideration.

"If it's something that you feel like you want to do, it's a good experience, and especially to better your life and make more money," she said.

Feldman and her classmates are chipping away at a nationwide truck driver shortage.

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"The average age of a truck driver right now is like about 62 years old, 59 to 62 years old," said Greg Christy, a lead instructor at the transportation institute. "So those people are getting out, and it's hard to get people to fill up the ranks."

Christy said one of the biggest reasons for the shortage is the lifestyle.

"You really have to be dedicated to it," he said. "The only time that truck makes money is when that those tires are rolling."

DMACC student Andrew Arnold hopes to find freedom on the road—he was tired of being stuck in a cubicle.

"This has been kind of a dream for me," Arnold said. "I watched the trucks drive around, and the pay is really what lines up with any other job in the industry."

The trucking program at DMACC has helped both Feldman and Arnold map a future that best suits them.

"It's going to be long hours, but it'll be worth it for me and my children in the end," Feldman said.

The trucking program costs around $5,200 including books, fuel and other expenses. Students who can't afford that can apply for grants through DMACC. With starting pay up to $50,000, that cost can pay off.

Industry recruiters are at the school several times a week. Some students, like Feldman already have a job lined up after graduation.

RELATED: DMACC enrollment rebounding, but still far below pre-pandemic levels

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