SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Felons are finding a new lease on life by hitting the road as professional truck drivers.

As an ex-con, Robert Henderson is haunted by his felony, but he has now found the key to his future.

“Being an ex-felon, there’s a lot of judgmenation that comes with that,” Henderson said. “In my experience, it’s the main factor in not getting jobs.”

Henderson is one of the thousands of felons finding new hope in the new trucking industry hiring practices. Hundreds of companies have begun actively hiring felons due to supply and demand needs.

Yogi Sanwal trained Henderson at his Sacramento trucking school and got him his first job.

“There’s such a deficit of drivers. They need like 50 thousand drivers nationwide that they’re short of,” said Yogi Sanwal.

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Sanwal said drivers need a clean driving record and no DUI’s in the past three years. Being on parole can limit opportunity, as will certain crimes.

For Henderson, this is the chance of a lifetime to put his past in the rearview mirror.

“When I first got in the truck it was very intimidating. It’s big. All the cars are little,” Henderson said. “But it feels good sitting in the truck. You don’t have people breathing down your neck. You don’t have people judging you. You’re just judged on your ability to drive.”

Henderson said in five years he thinks he’s not going to feel like an ex-con but like a citizen. According to the Department of Corrections, being employed can reduce recidivism by up to 88 percent.