HINDS COUNTY, MS (WLBT) - 27-year-old Terrance Trigg of Jackson took a stroke of bad luck as a sign it was time to switch gears, and begin a new career.
Laid off from a mental health tech job in April, Trigg weighed his options and decided to attend a one-month truck driver program at Ace Training Center in Byram. He just graduated, and now will choose among the job offers he's gotten. "I have between 7 and 8 (job offers)," he says.
Trigg also won't pay for a penny of his schooling.
"I went through the Job WIN Center for funding. They set me up with a couple classes. I think it's two tests. It's a basic knowledge test," he says.
Students at the Ace Training Center are graduating and quickly landing jobs with benefits. Starting salary is about $32,000/year.
Truck driving isn't just a career for men. Ace Training Center owner Kay Ferguson says the ratio of women to men coming through the classroom is 25-75%, and the women make the same salaries as the men.
"This job does not have a glass ceiling because it pays for the amount of miles you drive," Ferguson says.
A former truck driver herself, Ferguson now co-owns the business with her husband. She says during the worst part of the economic downturn, employers scaled back slightly. "Now they're telling me they're open, I need 1,400 drivers. They're anxious for people to come on board with them, and they're vying for them," she says.
Truck driving is #2 on the list of the 50 Hottest Jobs, compiled by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. The hottest jobs are chosen by looking at a number of factors, including demand and wage.
Each occupation on the hottest jobs list has a corresponding job zone, ranging from 1 to 5. The higher the number, the more education or preparation needed. Truck driving is in job zone 2.
The number one hottest job, and in job zone four: registered nurse.
22-year-old Grace Grantier is an RN at UMC in Jackson. She has an interest in medicine and job security, and found the perfect field of work. "It's a great paying job, great benefits," she says.
Grantier paid for her education through grants and scholarships. In exchange for some of that, she agreed to work in Mississippi for at least a year.
Unlike some other professions requiring a college degree, Grantier had no trouble landing employment.
"I interviewed a few places, but there was definitely a lot of options. As far as job security, it's an amazing field to go into," she says.
Rounding out the top five hottest jobs in Mississippi: Elementary school teachers are #3, general and operations managers are #4, and secondary school teachers are #5.
Surprising picks, since teachers in Mississippi experienced layoffs the past two years.
But Mary Willoughby with the Department of Employment Security says the hottest jobs are based on projections to the year 2018. "When you have layoffs or the economy's bad, it's hard to say how long or how much the demand is going to continue the way it has in the past," she says.
More hot jobs from MDES:
#6 Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses #7 Family and General Practitioners #8 First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Office and Administrative Support Workers #9 Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Vocational Education #10 Chief Executives #11 Pharmacists #12 Clergy #13 Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Except Technical and Scientific Products #14 First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers #15 Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers
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