Looking for a job? Truck drivers in high demand

Not every training program can promise a 100 percent job placement rate, but Butler Tech claims students who complete the school’s five-week commercial truck driving program and pass the road licensing test will find work.

Logistics — including jobs in truck driving, supply chain management and materials handling at distribution and fulfillment centers — is a growth industry in Southwest Ohio, according to Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, which is partnering with Butler Tech to offer the industry new education programs for short-term certificates and two- and four-year degrees.

Butler Technology and Career Development Schools began offering a Commercial Driver's License program in 2014 for Class A and Class B drivers. In the school's first full year of operation in 2015, about 90 students enrolled in the course and as of mid-February this year about 60 students have signed up, said Jeff Travers, director of the career school's public safety education.

“Every student that comes through here that graduates gets a job and I’m not talking about $10 an hour,” Travers said.

Companies such as Festo Corp., which opened last year an assembly and distribution facility in Mason, chose to move production, logistics and distribution activities to Greater Cincinnati because of the closer proximity by ground transportation to customers in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Moving closer to customers improves service and reduces delivery times, Andrea Ziomek, manager of Festo corporate communications in the Americas, previously told the Journal-News.

Cincinnati State plans to open this year a new logistics training center in a rented-out warehouse in West Chester Twp. and those supply chain students will also have the opportunity to get CDL training from Butler Tech, which offers a driving range for trucks at its Liberty Twp. public safety education complex.

“We’re dying for drivers,” said Matthew Dutkevicz, chief operating officer for Butler County Regional Transit Authority.

The public agency is seeking drivers with a Class B license and passenger endorsement to fill part-time positions, Dutkevicz said.

“We’re looking for people who are willing to work 30 to 40 hours a week,” he said.

Jobs in the transportation and warehousing industry in the Cincinnati metropolitan are expected to grow 6.8 percent by 2022, adding approximately 2,700 new positions, according to the most recent state estimates. The area including Butler and Warren counties currently employs nearly 40,000 people in jobs related to trucking, transportation and warehouses, according to Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

“For people that’s got the desire to go out and do truck driving, there is so many positions opening, whether it’s coast to coast driving, local, regional, dedicated,” said Sandra Chase, a truck driving instructor for Butler Tech and former big-rig driver.

“Things that I like about it is I’m kind of my own boss,” Chase said. “Even though I do have a boss that I report to, I’m still able to go out and I get to see the country literally on a paid vacation year-round. As long as I meet my deadlines, my schedule, interact with customer service, I’m pretty much left alone to do whatever, whenever I want.”

On a recent day at Butler Tech’s driving course off Ohio 747, students were weaving semis in-between cones and practicing maneuvering a trailer in reverse. Students also learn how to do a pre-vehicle trip inspection, shifting and down shifting, backing techniques including parallel parking and backing up to a dock, and driving in traffic.

Butler Tech offers day and night CDL classes every two weeks, with plans are to add a weekend class this year, Travers, the program director, said.

David Rupert, 43, of Morrow, saved up money to go to school and change careers with the support of his family.

“I need something with a 401k and a vacation program,” said Rupert, who was previously self-employed. The Butler Tech driving student has applied at about 12 different companies pending his graduation.

“A day or two after I submit my application, they’re calling,” Rupert said. “It’s a different coin toss when you’re in demand.”

“I’m going to be employed for the next 20 years,” he said.

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