New law brings new opportunities to high school students

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ENTERPRISE, Ala. (WTVY) -- A new law in Alabama gives 18-year-olds new opportunities and that's especially good for the trucking industry.

"One of our top industries in the state and this is another pathway for young people to enter what is a great career," said Mark Colson, the president and CEO of the Alabama Trucking Association.

A new law lowers the age requirements to obtain a commercial driver's license from 21 to 18, bringing new opportunities.

"And it's not just trucking jobs in our industry. There are diesel techs, diesel mechanics," said Colson. "These are good paying jobs for Alabamians of all ages, but this is just another opportunity for young people to enter our industry."

Going to college may not be every student's choice, so schools are making sure they have the knowledge to explain all of the career options.

"I specifically stress that to the students," says Enterprise City Schools career coach Angela Brockman. "Talk about that as a good opportunity if they're interested in it. Make sure they know where they can get training here locally. Those kinds of things get that information to them so, they can think about if that's a good pathway for them."

The new opportunity is helping fill voids in the entire trucking industry.

"There's a limited amount and we also have drivers that are retiring every year and some drivers just decide that they don't want to drive a truck anymore. And so there's always going to be a need for extra drivers," Kemmie Williams, a CDL instructor at Enterprise State Community College said.

And the Alabama trucking industry sees it as a road to a great future.

"It's about a pathway for high schoolers... It's about how to enter our industry," reiterates Colson. "How to stay in it, be successful, provide for your family, provide for your community. So it's not just about getting a job right out of high school its about a long successful career on in the trucking industry or transportation and logistics industry."

The law will go into effect in February 2020. This law doesn't allow anyone under 21 to go across state lines.

But the trucking association and other groups are working on a Drive Safe Act which would lower the age to 18.

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