As the trucking industry continues to grapple with a lack of qualified drivers to meet elevated demand, less-than-truckload provider Yellow Corp. (NASDAQ: YELL), formerly YRC Worldwide, announced Monday it would add 1,500 drivers and open 12 new driver academies.
The press release from the Overland Park, Kansas-based carrier pointed to the American Trucking Associations’ estimate that the industry is short 60,000 drivers as evidence of the need for a hiring blitz. The pandemic has reduced the number of CDL graduates by roughly 40%, and the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse sidelined roughly 56,000 drivers last year.
Transportation employment remains below pre-COVID levels while sectors competing in the same labor pool, like construction, have seen demand surge as well.
“At a time when many Americans are looking to start a new career, Yellow is in hire mode. These are good jobs with competitive benefits in a community near you,” Yellow CEO Darren Hawkins said in a recent interview on the Fox Business Network. “Our number one asset is our 30,000 professionals.”
The Yellow network currently has approximately 16,000 drivers.
In addition to the direct driver hiring campaign, the company will take on CDL candidates at one of its 12 new academies across the nation. Those facilities will provide classroom instruction and in-cab skills training by some of the carrier’s longest-tenured drivers.
The new locations include Charlotte, North Carolina; Cleveland; Denver; Fort Worth, Texas; Hagerstown, Maryland; Indianapolis; Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee; Maybrook, New York; Portland, Oregon; and Pico Rivera and Tracy, California.
The release said Yellow is evaluating other locations and plans to open the schools this spring.
A spokesperson with the company said driver applications have been strong even with the recent stretch of inclement weather.
The recent rebrand back to the Yellow name is part of the company’s restructuring, which has streamlined the organization and will consolidate its five separate operating companies onto the same network. The turnaround received a big boost from a $700 million Treasury loan, $400 million of which is being used to replace the company’s older fleet, thereby lowering associated operating expenses.