TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - If you could get paid about $40,000 dollars a year, see the country and work without constant micro-managing, would you do it? Millions of people are saying yes and they are turning to a career field that - in the past - may've had a bad rap. No matter their background or education, they are getting their hands on the wheel of a big rig and finding new freedom on the open road.
KGUN9 talked with three Tucsonans who enrolled in Pima Community College's truck driver training program.
David Winemiller is a veteran who has been out of work for about a year now and Pima One Stop helped him navigate to this career. David told us, "I'm just glad to be able to work again, knowing I'm going to come out of this and have a good solid job again."
Rhonda Lindamood and her husband were laid off at the same time. Rhonda worked for a Tucson solar company. Her outlook for the future is, "more money in your pocked and a great adventure to go out on the road and see the US, the places I've never been."
Niecy Baker, also a veteran and a nurse, decided to get her CDL so she could start her own business that incorporates nursing and transporting patients.
As for the new "image" of truckers, it's changing. Instructor Sandy McCoskey told us, "about 30 percent of our students have degrees in other fields." PCC's instruction is a thirty day program that costs about $3,200 dollars. There are programs available to help cover the cost. Some trucking companies even offer reimbursement for the training. There are 300,000 truck driver jobs open nationwide and the average salary in Pima County is right around $40,000.