As the nation has learned, trucking plays a critical role in the US supply chain and economy. America’s truck drivers have been on the frontlines during the Covid-19 pandemic, delivering goods to every corner of the country. 72 percent of goods in America are shipped by truck, and in most communities, trucks are the only form of delivery (in New York City about 90 percent of goods come via truck). To accelerate the development of new trucking apprenticeship programs the Federal Government kicked off the 90 Day Trucking Apprenticeship Challenge in mid-December. This seeks to:
- Build awareness of the power of the apprenticeship model across the trucking and transportation sector as a strategy to serve workers and employers.
- Secure commitments from employers, industry associations, labor partners and other intermediaries to increase apprentice slots by starting and growing programs.
- Accelerate the sponsor uptake process and time to hire for new apprentices.
- Demonstrate the potential of the apprenticeship system to drive program expansion in targeted sectors.
Employers and partners can get involved by:
- Signing onto existing apprenticeship programs or starting new ones.
- Growing or replicating existing apprenticeship programs across markets.
The apprenticeship is not just for truck drivers. Other in-demand careers in the trucking industry such as diesel mechanic, industrial refrigeration technician, storage and distribution managers, purchasing agents, supply chain managers, and more are included as well. In addition, there are opportunities for firms in the advanced manufacturing or construction space to take advantage of as well.
The 90-Day Trucking Apprenticeship Challenge is a small part of a much larger initiative to address trucking workforce challenges and begin building a next generation trucking workforce. Currently 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.