LEWISTON — The Walmart Distribution Center is looking to hire 50 truck drivers as soon as possible, part of a national push to employ hundreds more in advance of the holidays, according to a spokeswoman.

Michelle Malashock said Wednesday the average age of a Walmart truck driver is 55. Retirements, strong sales and a tight job market are behind the hires.

“Business is growing. That means more freight,” Malashock said. “With peak coming up, we’re looking to add hundreds and hundreds across the fleet.”

The push comes during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week.

Nationally, new drivers for the company earn an average $86,000 a year, Malashock said.

Drivers out of Lewiston generally deliver to other distribution centers and grocery and retail stores in the Northeast and North Atlantic region.

Walmart truck drivers have a five-day schedule, “so you will always be home two days a week, sometimes three,” she said. “Drivers don’t load and unload — beside the wage and the home time, that’s one of the big drivers for recruiting for us.”

Among the requirements to become a Walmart truck driver: a Class A license with a hazmat endorsement, a minimum 30 months of experience in the past three years and no more than two moving violations in the last three years.

The company has added a new referral bonus of up to $1,500 for drivers or hourly transportation associates who recommend new hires.

Walmart has a transportation fleet of 6,100 tractors, 61,000 trailers and more than 7,800 drivers, according to the company.

Malashock said Thursday that 100 drivers are currently based in at the distribution center on Alfred A. Plourde Parkway  in Lewiston.

In June, General Manager Rich Bourget said he was looking to fill 25 jobs at the distribution center, which employs hundreds locally.

“We have a hiring deficit, just like everybody else,” Bourget said.

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This story was updated at 10:23 a.m. Thursday.

The Walmart Distribution Center in Lewiston is looking to hire 50 truck drivers in advance of the holidays. Above, a Walmart tractor-trailer travels Highway 41, near Richfield, Wisconsin. (AP file photo)

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