Trucking plays a critical role in the US supply chain and economy. America’s truck drivers have been on the frontlines of this pandemic, delivering goods to every corner of this country. 72 percent of goods in America are shipped by truck (In New York City that number is closer to 90 percent), and in most communities, trucks are the only form of delivery. A strong, stable, and safe trucking workforce that offers good-paying jobs to millions of truck drivers is a critical lifeblood of our economy. But outdated infrastructure, the Covid-19 pandemic, and a historic volume of goods moving through our economy have strained capacity across the supply chain, necessitating a trucking action plan.
As such, the White House announced measures to address trucking workforce challenges and begin building a next generation trucking workforce by having a Trucking Action Plan:
- Take steps to reduce barriers to drivers getting CDLs: DOT and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are supporting state departments of motor vehicles as they return to, or even exceed, pre-pandemic commercial driver’s license (CDL) issuance rates, which is helping bring more truck drivers into the field. FMCSA will provide over $30 million in funding to help states expedite CDLs. FMCSA is sent all 50 states a toolkit detailing specific actions they can take to expedite licensing and will work together with states to address challenges they are facing. FMCSA will also begin closely tracking delays, identifying states that have challenges with issuing CDLs, and communicating with all 50 governors about ways they can reduce delays in issuing CDLs.
- Kick off a 90-day Challenge to accelerate the expansion of Registered Apprenticeships: This is a national effort to recruit employers interested in developing new Registered Apprenticeship programs and expanding existing programs to help put more well-trained drivers on the road in good trucking jobs. Trucking employers of all sizes and across industry segments, from long haul to last mile, from cargo containers fresh off of ships to tank trucks transporting essential fuel, are seeing the potential value of Registered Apprenticeship. Registered Apprenticeship is the gold-standard of workforce training that provides paid, on-the-job learning, and today there are more than 10,000 apprentices in the trucking industry. Expanding this proven workforce strategy in trucking is critical for ensuring high-quality training for new drivers and helping employers develop and retain a skilled and safe workforce.
- Conduct veterans-focused outreach & recruitment: There are approximately 70,000 veterans who are likely to have certified trucking experience in the last five years. The DOL Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will work with Veterans Service Organizations, Military Service Organizations, unions, industry trucking associations, training providers, and private partners to enable transitioning service members and veterans to attain good jobs in the trucking industry. DOL and VA will work to ensure veterans’ driving experience is recognized for those seeking a CDL and will build on proven models, such as SkillBridge programs for transitioning service members.
- Launch joint DOT- DOL Driving Good Jobs initiative: Supporting drivers and ensuring that trucking jobs are good jobs is foundational for a strong, safe, and stable trucking workforce. DOT and DOL are announcing today the launch of the joint Driving Good Jobs initiative, which marks a new partnership between the agencies that will include: hosting listening sessions that engage drivers, unions and worker centers, industry, and advocates; lifting up employers and best practices that support job quality and driver retention that can be scaled; working together to implement research and engagement efforts outlined in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, including studying the issue of truck driver pay and unpaid detention time; identifying effective and safe strategies to get new entrants in the field from underrepresented communities, including women and young drivers between the ages of 18-20; setting up a task force to investigate predatory truck leasing arrangements; and identifying longer term actions, such as potential administrative or regulatory actions that support drivers and driver retention by improving the quality of trucking jobs.