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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Energy Workers Turning to Trucking

Energy Workers Turning to Trucking

As energy industry jobs evaporate, a growing number of older workers who have spent years working in coal, steel or oil and gas, only to become casualties of the 2008 recession or the more recent industry downturns, are turning to a second career in trucking.

Take John Hank, for example. He worked long hours as a wireline operator for Halliburton lowering instruments into the ground in more than eight states and overseas.

But at 60, he found himself back in school, learning how to be a truck driver and preparing to apply for his commercial driver’s license. His layoff in July 2015 preceded his layoff from another company in April 2016.

Forty-six mining-related companies, including Halliburton, have laid off employees in the past two years, according to a release from Pennsylvania CareerLink. A U.S. Department of Labor program, funded through the Appalachian Regional Commission and individual states, provides retraining money for miners and those working in ancillary fields.

Many of those workers are choosing trucking as a second career.

“Truck driving ain’t going nowhere,” said Johnnie Roach, a former driller and miner. “It’s not going to disappear like the coal industry. I figure at least that’s something I can retire on, if I have to. There are all kinds of people looking for drivers — everywhere you look.”