Wednesday’s unveiling of A. Duie Pyle’s expanded logistics operations signifies more than one company’s growth.
It also demonstrates the steady rise in demand for the trucking industry.
Logistic companies and related fields have reported a consistent gain in employment, according to the Pennsylvania Center for Workforce Information and Analysis. The center predicts this trend will continue locally and statewide.
The center’s statistical data shows jobs for tractor-trailer and heavy-truck drivers will increase to an estimated 4,990 through 2022. Related logistic fields will have a projected employment growth of 284,900 through 2022.
What does this mean for the Wyoming Valley?
An increase in the availability of skilled jobs with family sustaining wages, Susan Spry, vice president of Work Force Development at Luzerne County Community College in Nanticoke, said.
On average an entry-level diesel technician can earn $32,080 annually, Spry said. An experienced diesel mechanic can make an average of $43,530 a year, she said.
Entry-level tractor-trailer drivers can earn $26,840 annually, Spry said. An experienced driver can earn an average annual income of $42,320, she said.
These income estimates do not include any bonuses and will fluctuate based on employer and routes, she said.
“Logistics can be a local economic driver,” Spry said.
Luzerne County’s location in the northeast gateway also sets the industry up for growth.
When A. Duie Pyle, a 91-year-old company, outgrew their 26-door facility on Eugene Drive in Plains Township, staying in the county was key.
Luzerne County has a prime geographic location, two to four hours to major metropolitan hubs and easy access to major interstates, Russ Miceli, vice president of sales at A. Duie Pyle, said.
“There is easy access to highways from here,” Miceli said. “We wanted to stay near the shipping community.”
Headquartered in West Chester, A. Duie Pyle opened a 56-door terminal on Sathers Drive in Pittston Township. The facility offers room to expand, Miceli said.
Touring A. Duie Pyle’s 12-acre property in the Grimes Industrial Park, it was easy to see the trickle-down effect on jobs the industry creates.
The 24,600-square-foot terminal has 56 loading docks to receive and transport goods from Maine to northern Virginia. Forklift drivers, dispatchers and office staff are all housed in the building.
An 8,720-square-foot maintenance shop contains an automated truck wash and a full-service, three-bay garage.
“We maintain and repair our trucks and forklifts,” Miceli said.
The Pittston Township facility employs 75 people, but Miceli said they have plans to hire more as demand increases.
“We have hired six drivers,” he said. “We have about 2,500 employees (company-wide). We employ a total of 1,000 truck drivers.”
Spry expects many experienced logistic workers to retire in the next five to 10 years, creating a vacancy of positions for certified applicants.
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry reports statewide 1,685 employees are 55 and older in the transit and ground passenger transportation industry. This number does not reflect associated fields such as diesel mechanics.
However, trained younger counterparts are lacking.
“We do not have the pipeline of students” to fill these positions, Spry said.
Local education institutions increase the accessibility of training for candidates to obtain a Class A Commercial Drivers License, forklift certification and diesel mechanic training.
LCCC announced last week a $1.8 million federal Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant will allow the college to broaden its diesel technology program from 18 credits to 30 credits, Spry said.
This September LCCC will roll out the new Diesel Technology program. Spry said 12 students are already registered for the 2015 fall semester so far.
For the 2014-15 school year, LCCC’s Diesel Technology program had 15 students enrolled and 55 students in the CDL program, she said.
CDL classes are kept small “to keep student-instructor ratio low and give maximum time for students to practice driving the tractor-trailer,” Spry said.
“We even have a CDL license testing center on-site,” she said.
Also, Fortis Institute in Forty Fort and McCann School of Business in Wilkes-Barre Township also offer CDL training programs.
A. Duie Pyle offers a 10-week training school for drivers to earn their Class A CDLs, Miceli said. The company’s training campuses are in West Chester and Westfield, Massachusetts.
“Between 230 to 250 students enrolled in the program last year,” Miceli said.
“I think this sector is strong, but not all people have the skills to be drivers or mechanics,” Spry said.
Finding professional drivers has been more difficult today than ever before to find, Miceli said.
Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.comments powered by Disqus