North City trucking academy presents new career opportunities, second chances to community members
NORTH CITY (KMOV.com) -- According to the American Trucking Associations, the U.S. is experiencing a shortage of 80,000 truck drivers, adversely impacting the supply chain.
Nearly 72 percent of the country’s freight transport moves by trucks, highlighting the importance of drivers.
In North City, a local man is trying to help put a dent in that shortage, while offering a new career opportunity to those that live in the neighborhood.
“It’s important to let our youngsters see what we’re doing here in our neighborhood and that it can happen here,” Darren Cunningham Sr. said. “We don’t have to live out there, we can do great things right here.”
Cunningham is the founder of Jubilee Trucking Academy, which opened its doors in April of 2021. Since then, 10 people have graduated and obtained their commercial drivers license.
“I think it’s a miracle, I think it’s a god-send,” Inez McClendon, a current student, said. “It’s much needed in the area. It’s something that’s obtainable and you can put your mind to it. It’s way past overdue.”
McClendon has been training both in the classroom and behind the wheel since September. On Monday, she will take her CDL test.
“I love it, I love the road,” she said. “There’s always something new you can learn whether you’ve done a maneuver a thousand times or not.”
Jubilee Community Church is a partner in the business and a nearby vacant parking lot serves as a training ground for students.
“I had a few students and they were robbing people,” Cunningham said. “We pulled them aside and said ya’ll don’t have to do this. We can get you into trucking and make six figures a year, and they didn’t believe us. They said, ‘no one ever told us this.’”
Cunningham hopes to educate both young and old people in the community about the lucrative opportunity being a truck driver provides.
“They don’t have to sell drugs,” he said. “They just need to know this opportunity exists and they can make six figures and have nice things.”
Demand for truck drivers is high right now, according to Cunningham. He said some truckloads are worth $20,000 and counting currently. Drivers can start making $1,000 a week.
“People see trucks, but they’ve never been inside them,” he said. “We want to show people how great of a career this can be and you can learn right here in North City.
Anyone interested in joining the academy can call (314) 553-9499.
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