Immigrants help meet truck driving shortage

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WATKINS, Colo. — The need for more drivers is so intense, one local school say it has a waiting line through June.

Many of those people learning to drive the big trucks are immigrants who are now filling a void.

At a truck driving school in Watkins, classes are packed with people learning to drive big rigs.

Nearly all of the students at the facility  are immigrants from places like East Africa.

A student named Fitwi, said, “The first time its very hard we (I) don’t know what we did…(but) I’m better now.”

The people who run the Commercial Vehicle Training Center say that perceived low pay and long hours on the road have led to a severe shortage of drivers in Colorado and across the country.

Owner Mike Euglow said, “I think its great the immigrants have looked at this and said this is something we can do. I think its great that somebody wants to fill a void.”

Many of these students drivers say they came to the US seeking political asylum.

Truck driving they believe Will help their dreams come true.

Biniam Gebrekidan, also from East Africa and a student said, “It’s very good, I like it. I’m going to work with a big company after that I’m going to buy my truck and rule the road.”

New laws that allow 18 years old to drive big rigs in Colorado will help with the shortage but the demand, Euglow says, is still huge.

Euglow added a lot of older truck drivers are retiring plus lots of people don’t want the road life anymore.

The training center tells us a truck driver can earn anywhere from 50 to 65 thousand dollars a year.

The four-week class costs about $3,000.

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