BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – As Louisiana rallies from the pandemic, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber discovered a major demand for truck drivers.
Baton Rouge has always had a need for truck drivers with the booming manufacturing industry. The pandemic created an even bigger demand, not only in big rigs but in passenger delivery drivers as well. As the restrictions are lifted, 1,500 jobs remain open.
“For lower-wage jobs, it’s really the unemployment enhancement which is going to end at the end of this month,” Senior Director of Business Intelligence Andrew Fitzgerald said. “We think a lot of places like retail and restaurants will see jobs filled then. The other part for higher-end jobs is skills mismatch. People just don’t have the training or certification they need to be a registered nurse or heavy truck driver.”
He also said while the demand for heavy truck drivers has decreased from last year, many people lack a commercial driver’s license (CDL) that could open them up to these careers.
“If anything it’s a matter of educating people on this opportunity and then providing, maybe if there is any way to subsidize that or find a way to help people pay their bills during those seven weeks while they’re training for their new career,” Fitzgerald said.
Some area CDL schools can help provide financial aid or get people connected with agencies that can help pay for the training. Companies have offered higher pay or signing incentives, the smaller businesses are struggling to keep up.
“McDonalds, Amazon, Walmart, they can afford a $15 minimum wage,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s the mom and pops, it’s the diner down the street that has trouble keeping up with that because their margins are not nearly as good.”
As the demand for deliveries both small and large continues, BRAC hopes more people will look toward training to begin their careers as drivers.
You can read more about the logistics industry openings in the area here.