GARY | A major trucking company is so in need of drivers that it is offering signing bonuses of at least $2,500.
Schneider National plans to host a job fair Thursday at the WorkOne Office, 3522 Village Circle, Gary. The event will take place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the former Village Shopping Center at 35th Avenue and Grant Street.
Schneider, a 78-year-old transportation company that has grown into one of the largest truckload carriers in North America, needs to hire truck drivers and mechanics in the Gary area. The company's large Chicago area hub is based in Gary, at 7101 W. 17th Ave.
"Our greatest need is for experienced over-the-road and tanker truck drivers and those who have just graduated from truck-driving school," said vice president Rob Reich. "These are good-paying jobs that come with benefits. Currently, we are offering a $5,000 sign-on bonus for over-the-road drivers. There are a lot of good reasons Gary residents will want to learn more about what a company like Schneider has to offer."
Applicants do not need to have commercial driver's licenses, because both Schneider and WorkOne have programs that would get them qualified to drive tractor-trailer trucks, said driver recruiter Darrell Comer.
"WorkOne has dollars, and we have dollars," he said. "If a person has a clean driving record, there are a lot of opportunities to get them training. I could find jobs for 50 candidates and wouldn't turn anybody away."
New drivers with no experience can get signing bonuses of $2,500, while experienced applicants can get up to $7,500. Schneider has to try to entice new drivers because not everyone is up for a life on the road, or aware that truck-driving is a good-paying, stable career, Comer said.
"It's not a 9-to-5 job, but it pays great benefits," he said. "You won't be getting laid off. You just have to be willing to do the job."
The city of Gary helped coordinate a series of job fairs with Schneider National as part of its New Day, New Jobs Initiative. The Thursday job fair is the final one scheduled for now.
In October, Gary's unemployment rate was 13.3 percent, much higher than the state average of 7.5 percent.
"Our efforts to reduce unemployment are ongoing," said Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson. "We know that when people are gainfully employed, it has a direct impact on our economic growth, reduction in crime and overall quality of life."
Applicants are asked to wear job interview attire, bring a resume and a proof of CDL certification if they have it and are interested in a truck driver position.
For more information, call Darrell Comer at (219) 944-4317 or Cynthia Pruitt at (219) 881-1302.