Taking action to support the next generation of the trucking workforce
The trucking industry plays a vital role in the U.S. supply chain, and America’s truck drivers have helped keep our economy — and 72% of all goods shipped in the U.S. — moving throughout the pandemic. Unfortunately, the industry continues to face longstanding recruitment and retention challenges, especially among women. There simply aren’t enough drivers on the road in good trucking jobs to meet today’s historic demands on the trucking industry.
That’s why the Biden-Harris Administration took action by proposing a clear set of steps to support drivers and a next generation trucking workforce, including the expansion of Registered Apprenticeships as a high-quality pathway for workers to connect with good driving jobs.
Checking in on our 90-day challenge
Sixty days ago, along with the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Department of Labor issued a 90-day Trucking Apprenticeship Challenge to industry and labor partners asking them to help us expand Registered Apprenticeships in trucking. By working together with DOT and hundreds of partners, we hope to improve access to high-quality training for new drivers while helping employers develop and retain a diverse, skilled and safe workforce.
There are currently more than 10,000 apprentices in the trucking industry, but we’re eager to partner with more employers to see this number grow. And so far, at this 60-day mark in our 90-day challenge, the response has been significant:
- More than 260 employers and industry partners have stepped forward to expand Registered Apprenticeships.
- Over 70 employers have either launched or are close to launching new apprenticeships, which will put thousands of new skilled and safe drivers on the road in good trucking jobs trained using the ‘earn while you learn’ Registered Apprenticeship model.
The Departments of Labor and Transportation are continuing to partner with industry and labor to host informational sessions and build partnerships with employers, industry groups and labor organizations to further support the development of Registered Apprenticeship across the trucking field.
A cross-sector commitment to promoting apprenticeships for the next 30 days and beyond
Employers of all sizes spanning multiple industries, including food, logistics and many more, have stepped up to join the Apprenticeship Challenge. Industry associations, such as the Minority Professional Truckers Association, and the North American Punjabi Trucking Association, are also launching apprenticeship programs accessible to their thousands of members.
To mark the progress over the last 60 days of participating, employers joined Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to talk about their progress to date and their commitments for the remaining 30 days of the challenge. The convening also served as an opportunity to highlight the steps we’ve taken to provide customized assistance to employers who commit to Registered Apprenticeship, including through partnership with FASTPORT, which helps facilitate apprenticeships in the transportation, distribution and logistics sector.
It’s critical for us to work together across government, industry and labor to build a more inclusive, resilient and competitive economy. This 90-day Apprenticeship Challenge is just one of the many ways we’re working to expand opportunities and support in industries like trucking that are essential to our economy. We look forward to continuing this important work over the next 30 days and beyond.
Are you ready to join the challenge? Check out our website to learn more and get involved!
Angela Hanks is the acting assistant secretary of employment and training.