ARLINGTON, Va. — American Trucking Associations joined an event at the White House on Monday highlighting new public-private initiatives designed to grow the trucking industry’s workforce and bolster the U.S. supply chain.
Nine professional truck drivers and nearly two dozen CEOs from ATA-member companies were in attendance.
“Investing in our workforce never stops. It’s a constant," ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said in a statement. "Our industry needs an additional 80,000 commercial truck drivers if we’re to meet consumer demand. We welcome the support of all elected officials as we recruit and train more talent into this critical industry.
“Recognizing our dedication to training and safety, the Departments of Labor and Transportation have worked quickly and efficiently in approving ATA as a registered apprenticeship sponsor. This long-sought designation provides our member companies valuable new tools and resources to help recruit and train the next generation of trucking talent.
“We thank and commend President Biden, Secretary Walsh and Secretary Buttigieg for their commitment to the men and women of trucking who keep America moving forward.”
Last month, ATA signed a historic agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor establishing the association as an official registered apprenticeship sponsor. As a USDOL-recognized sponsor at the national level, ATA can now provide its member-companies the ability to offer apprenticeships to job applicants while ATA and its partner FASTPORT — a USDOL intermediary specializing in transportation and logistics—administers the program for the participating companies.
ATA is also working with Administration officials and Congress to expand opportunities in trucking for military veterans and women. Maria Rodriguez, a first-generation immigrant from Venezuela who recently became a truck driver apprentice for NFI, told attendees how her newfound career in trucking has provided the financial stability and flexibility needed to support her family.
“I feel like I leaped into this new career, and I’m so happy I did. I hope that I can be an inspiration to other women who are thinking of joining the industry,” said Rodriguez. “I struggled to find a career, but I didn’t give up, and now I’m a successful mom, daughter, friend, and truck driver.
“As an essential part of the supply chain, I feel like I’m a part of something bigger than myself, which is rewarding."
Alphonso Lewis, an America’s Road Team Captain and U.S. Army veteran with nearly 30 years of experience as a professional truck driver for the Yellow Corporation, gave President Biden a tour of the inside of a truck cab while speaking about the opportunities that exist for veterans in trucking.
“Our nation’s heroes will find that America’s trucking industry is one big family with arms wide open,” said Lewis. “It was in the Army where I was trained and learned how to drive trucks, and it’s in this industry where I found my professional home after leaving the military. For any vet seeking a stable career path with good pay and benefits, I encourage you to look into the many opportunities that our industry has to offer.”