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Laid-off cubicle dwellers look to the open road

Posted on : 14-07-2009 | By : Truckdriversnews | In : truck driver Industry


NEW YORK – Just over a year ago, Patrick Greene was working for one of the nation’s oldest investment banks. Now he’s driving a truck.

Greene was a purchasing manager who arranged travel for Bear Stearns executives. He was laid off in July 2008, a few months after JPMorgan Chase & Co. took over. He tried to find work at similar companies, but with no luck. So, after aboutń0 resumes came to dead ends, Greene decided to learn to drive an 18-wheeler at Edison, N.J.-based Smith & Solomon trucking school.

“It’s something I always thought I would like, and just never got to do,” Greene said. Despite trucking’s long hours and being on the road away from his wife and children for weeks at a time, Greene, 49, liked the idea of a career change after years behind a desk.

A growing number of people are trading white collars for blue as the recession and layoffs dictate some tough choices about earning a living. And trucking schools are seeing more of these former white-collar workers as the recession drags on.

Smith & Solomon is one of many trucking schools across the country enrolling older applicants from a variety of white-collar jobs. Decent pay and a relatively short training time is attracting new blood in a stalled economy.

“We have students come to us after spending their whole professional life in an office,” Smith & Solomon owner Todd Hyland said. “Then, all of a sudden, they’re getting laid off.”

A heavy truck or tractor-trailer driver earns an average of $37,560 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A student can complete training in just three to six weeks, and there are few restrictions on receiving a commercial driver’s license other than a clean bill of health and a decent driving record.
Full AP Story

© 2009, Truck Drivers News. All rights reserved.

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