SAN ANTONIO – Commercial driver's license holders are in high demand in the city of San Antonio and across the nation.
The city of San Antonio is trying to find a way to fill those vacancies by investing in future hires.
In February, the Solid Waste Management Department started a CDL apprenticeship program.
Out of 170 applicants, six people were hired to learn the ins and outs of truck driving, preparing them to take the CDL test in 18 weeks.
Aaron Darland, 19, is one of the first to get his CDL and is now driving a route on his own.
“I was really nervous when I first got here, but thankfully, the trainer did an excellent job of getting me accustomed to the vehicle,” he said.
SWMD Assistant Director Nick Galus says, “We’re trying to bring in the next generation, we're trying to cultivate the next generation of drivers to be able to fill those vacancies to fill those that are coming up to retirement.”
Galus says those who are hired for the program start at $13.75 and get bumped up a dollar more when they get their CDL and get hired full-time with the city. The experience requirement is also waived for those in the program.
The incentives for those who choose to stay with the city after getting their CDL include health benefits, a retirement program and a chance to move up within the agency or the city, as well as a steady job.
“You never have to worry about us going out of business, that's for sure. There's always trash to be picked-up,” Galus said.
Galus hopes drivers will see the benefits of working for the city and choose to make their permanent career with the city.
The city plans on hiring for the program every six months. The next class starts around September or October.