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Yellow Corp. is launching a driver-training initiative that aims to bring up to 1,500 new drivers into the trucking industry.
“We need to get more talented men and women into the trucking industry,” Darren Hawkins, CEO of the Overland Park, Kan.-based less-than-truckload carrier, told Transport Topics earlier this month after the company changed its corporate name from YRC Worldwide. “Many Americans are looking to start a new career, and these are good jobs with competitive benefits in a community near you.”
According to a Feb. 22 announcement, the company will offer an eight-week CDL training program at 12 locations.
Yellow said students will be in class 40 hours a week during the four-week, paid training program, with an instructor preparing them for the appropriate state’s Class A CDL skills and road test. If the student is away from home during the program, Yellow will provide pay for travel and accommodations. After completing the program, there are four more weeks of training at the driver’s home terminal.
“We are growing our own CDL drivers,” Hawkins said, adding, “2021 is going to be a growth year for us.”
The coronavirus pandemic has forced many states’ departments of transportation to curtail services, which has slowed the ability of candidates to obtain CDLs. Training schools have also been affected.
American Trucking Associations Chief Economist Bob Costello believes the pandemic has worsened the industry’s persistent driver shortage. With trucking capacity very tight, companies have turned down work due to a lack of drivers, he has noted.
Hawkins noted that the pandemic has also provided a boost to the industry’s image.
“Our men and women are heroes,” he said. “At the beginning of the pandemic as well as today, they’re getting American families and businesses the goods they need. Our freight professionals serve as the economic lifeline to nearly every community in America. We take this very seriously.”
Yellow is in the midst of upgrading its fleet. It announced during its fourth-quarter earnings call on Feb. 4 that it purchased 300 new tractors and 1,200 trailers last year. In the first quarter of 2021, it plans to buy 1,110 tractors, 1,900 trailers and 250 containers.
The company is funding these acquisitions with $700 million in loans it received in 2020 from the federal CARES Act, a stimulus program to shore up what the government considered essential businesses. Yellow provides freight services for the military. As part of the agreement with the U.S. Treasury, the government gained a nearly 30% equity stake in the company.
Yellow introduced its new corporate name on Feb. 4. It began trading on the Nasdaq exchange on Feb. 8 using the symbol YELL. The company’s LTL brands include Holland, New Penn, Reddaway and YRC Freight. It also has HNRY Logistics.
Information on the CDL training program is available at Drive4YRC.com or by calling 1-877-249-2271.
Yellow ranks No. 6 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.
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