In 2017, Jim Babson recognized a trend in career development.
“I started talking to people about how they got their jobs,” he said. “And I saw so many that were working in areas they didn’t necessarily train for.”
He recognized people with college degrees who may have worked in the area they graduated for a few months or years; then they completely changed direction. And he saw what was lacking.
“Career awareness,” Babson said. “People are entering college majors or training programs without any real sense of what the career is about.”
This problem led Babson to create his own business — developing short videos about different careers. The business hit the ground as USCareersOnline.com (USCO).
“We have videos on various careers that provide a short, five to six-minute introduction to fields people may not have considered exploring before,” Babson said.
One of the career fields USCO has recently explored is truck driving.
USCO joined forces with Schneider Trucking and Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute (CCCTI) in North Carolina to produce a career awareness video about just one of many careers of choice in the trucking industry — driving.
The video production had four goals.
“First, we wanted to simply provide information to those exploring careers,” Babson said. “It was also intended to build the workforce, serve as a recruiting tool for Schneider, and help CCCTI attract new students.”
CCCTI has been operating a truck driving program since 1990. The first of its type in North Carolina, the school has expanded its offerings to eight other campuses in the state’s community college system. Scott Hartley is the director of truck driver training at CCCTI.
“We’ve been connected with Schneider Trucking for over 20 years,” Hartley said. “We find that whichever campus we work with, Schneider has jobs available and is recruiting.” What’s more, Hartley added, CCCTI can train drivers for all types of trucks. “Interstate driving, dedicated runs, driving out of ports, owner-operators — we have placed students in careers in many areas. We have even had success placing students under 21 with intrastate companies or driving cement and dump trucks.”
One thing that surprises Hartley is the talent he sees in the 18- to 20-year-old students.
“When I was on the road, I was a staunch advocate for keeping young, inexperienced drivers in a place where they could learn the trade,” he said.
Since becoming an instructor, he’s seen that the rule may be a bit restrictive. Hartley says he has had some teenage students excel in the training program while students in their 50s struggle. He believes there needs to be an increased focus on younger drivers.
“More simulators would help with training,” he said.
As far as the video project with USCO is concerned, Hartley says it is a great tool for CCCTI and the other campuses where the truck driving program operates.
“It is a great marketing tool,” Hartley said. CCCTI has the video posted on its website and also advertises its availability on YouTube and USCO. And the video doesn’t just cater to male drivers. At least one female student tells her story and how she became interested in the trucking business.
“Career awareness is all about telling stories,” Jim Babson said.
Each of Babson’s company’s videos includes several professionals or students who tell why they got into or are training for a career field.
For Schneider, the involvement in the video was an extension of their regular recruitment. One of Schneider’s ambassadors, Lemine Dia, appears in the production and offers his thoughts about the benefits of choosing a career as a truck driver.
“You are your own boss,” Dia said. “You’re the captain of your ship. Make this the best decision of your life. Becoming a truck driver was the best thing I could have ever done in my life.”
Since retiring from a career as an outdoor recreation professional from the State of Arkansas, Kris Rutherford has worked as a freelance writer and, with his wife, owns and publishes a small Northeast Texas newspaper, The Roxton Progress. Kris has worked as a ghostwriter and editor and has authored seven books of his own. He became interested in the trucking industry as a child in the 1970s when his family traveled the interstates twice a year between their home in Maine and their native Texas. He has been a classic country music enthusiast since the age of nine when he developed a special interest in trucking songs.