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Will apprenticeship programs succeed in attracting more youngsters into trucking industry?

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Two Speeding Semi Trucks on the Nevada Highway, USA. Trucking in America.
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This specific thought has been disseminated about the trucking industry for some time now. That is allowing youngsters from 18-21 old to drive commercial vehicles under close supervision.


The president of American Associations (ATA) Spear said in the People Net 2017 conference and exposition that the trade group plans to push for the establishment of a trainee program that would let the trucking industry to “capture” high school graduates that are 18 years old and train them as truck drivers.

“We’re losing the 18 to 21-year-olds to other industries,” Chris explained as the cause why ATA plans to make a concentrated energy to get the federal government behind its apprenticeship plan.

Spear also highlighted that they are going to need 960,000 people for the trucking industry as drivers over the next decade.

Spear also added that when he works in the Department of Labor during the George W. Bush’s presidency, he noted that the agency provided workforce training “grants” to a variety of industries to the tune of $4 billion a year – and Spear believes just retooling some of that money to fund trucker apprenticeships, particularly in the inner cities of the U.S., could uncork a broader flow of candidates into the truck driver employment pool.

In a recent research note, Larkin said that it would take several years to gain Congressional and regulatory support for such an apprenticeship program, “if the industry association can get any traction at all.”

“Most insurance companies refuse to insure companies hiring drivers younger than 22 to 25 years old,” Larkin pointed out. Also “most of the higher quality high school graduates, who are not attending college, have developed other careers prior to becoming age eligible for a professional truck driving position.”

In addition, it was also noted that all the rumors about self-driving trucks are scaring many youngsters away from the industry. It is logical why a young individual would want to choose a profession which will soon be disrupted by technology.

However, Larkin also emphasized that widespread adoption of self-driving trucks might be several decades. Moreover, leaving the trucking industry has another challenge, that of “getting that message across to young people” who might consider professional trucking as a carrier only if they know that they were not going to eventually be replaced by autonomous technologies.

It’s a tricky issue of course: to find, retain as well as recruit good and professionals. That’s an effort that will need to be continued for a long time.


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