City of High Point losing drivers with CDL to private businesses

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- High Point's public services department is struggling to recruit and maintain employees with a commercial driver license.

Public Services Director Terry Houk said Thursday that the city is looking to fill about 25 vacancies in the department, including sanitation truck and street sweeper drivers.

“The competition is just too great on the outside, the economy is booming,” he said. "Usually what happens is we have to double up or stagger our shifts so we can pick up deliveries.”

Houk explained that the city pays for employees to obtain their CDL and will train them for about a year. He says drivers will sometimes leave the position shortly after for better pay with a private company.

“Not only did we lose them to a higher salary, all the time invested in then we’ve lost all that too until we’re starting back over,” he said.

A spokesperson for the City of Winston-Salem says they need to hire 31 equipment operators. Greensboro needs to hire one driver, and Asheboro is looking to hire five.

Bryan Hurley is an environmental services foreman in Asheboro and says there are certain benefits to working for the city.

"With the city, you’d have your retirement, benefits package, pension, to me that would be the deciding factor,” he said.

Houk said they are taking part in an apprenticeship program with other cities and businesses to recruit new drivers.

"The idea is to groom positions that are critical and hard to fill and train people to be in those," he said. "The game plan is to start when they're a senior in high school, select them and then go through a four-year training period.”

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