PETERSBURG, Fla. — Looking to address Ohio’s high unemployment rate and a shortage of truck drivers, Roadmaster Drivers School is opening a new training facility in Columbus.
Columbus’ new custom-built school will open its doors and host its first class Aug. 17. The 10,000-square-foot facility sits on 12 acres in the state capital and will be able to serve approximately 750 students each year. Roadmaster has operated training facilities in Columbus since 1995.
Meanwhile, the Ohio State Senate is considering a bill that would increase training opportunities to meet the state’s growing demand for additional truck drivers. House Bill 222, which passed the Ohio House of Representatives with strong bipartisan support, would provide a tax credit for companies that invest in truck-driver training, equal to a total of one-half of the training expenses.
“Ohio legislators are to be commended for this timely and forward-looking initiative,” said Brad Ball, president of Florida-based Roadmaster Drivers School. “New truckers are urgently needed in Ohio, and fortunately job-seekers are responding. We are already seeing a significant upsurge of demand for training at our new facility in Columbus.”
Ball noted that demand for training has been growing for some time due to pandemic-driven increases in unemployment. The jobless rate in Ohio, for example, which was at 4.1% in January of this year, rose to 17.6% in April. The rate has dropped somewhat since then but is still extremely high — more than 35,000 Ohioans filed new unemployment claims for the week ending July 11, with 429,000 filing claims for continued unemployment during the same period. In this context, not just in Ohio but nationwide, trucking stands out as an island of employment stability and opportunity, he said.
The training required to enter the profession is relatively brief — about four weeks, according to Ball.
“Every day, nationally and in our new facility in Columbus, we’re hearing from people who want to get off the layoff-and-furlough roller coaster and build a new, secure future for themselves,” he said.