Less-than-truckload carrier Yellow Corp. announced Tuesday the opening of two driver academies. The new schools are located in the transportation hubs of metro Atlanta and Cincinnati and are part of the carrier’s efforts to onboard new drivers to offset attrition during the year.
“We’re pleased to offer additional driver training locations,” Yellow CEO Darren Hawkins stated in a press release. “Our goal is to train 1,000 new drivers through our academies this year.”
The facilities complement 14 other Yellow (NASDAQ: YELL) owned and operated driver training centers around the country. The tuition-free centers provide in-class training and behind-the-wheel instruction. At the conclusion of the course, driver candidates will be ready for commercial driver’s license testing. Once the test is passed, trainees will complete a Department of Labor-certified apprenticeship with the company’s veteran drivers, eventually joining Yellow’s fleet as a professional driver.
The press release said the DOL apprenticeship provides pay in conjunction with on-the-job training.
“Everything we teach emphasizes safety: safety of our drivers, colleagues, customers and the driving public, Hawkins added.
“For anyone aspiring to a career that provides a good salary and full benefits that gets them on the open road and not behind a desk, trucking is a smart choice. Many of our drivers spend their entire careers with Yellow.”
Health concerns over COVID accelerated retirements and pushed many veteran drivers to seek employment in industries with comparable pay. During the pandemic, driver schools were closed or forced to operate at reduced capacity, which limited new driver candidates. Also, compliance with the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse went into effect just ahead of the outbreak, which required drivers with failed tests to enter remediation or to leave the industry.
The trucking industry was down roughly 80,000 drivers in 2021, according to the American Trucking Associations. The group expects the number to double by 2030 at the current rate of attrition. Many carriers continue to solve for capacity through driver pay increases and expanded driver training programs.
Yellow is in the process of a restructuring and has consolidated all of its separate carrier operating companies onto the same technology platform. Part of the overhaul includes integrating its linehaul network to remove redundancy and reduce its reliance on third-party capacity. The company’s driver hiring initiative is part of the changes.
Yellow plans to open additional driver schools this year, according to the press release.