Women have long been underrepresented in the trucking industry—accounting for just 6 percent of the commercial truck driver workforce, according to government statistics—but a high school in California is doing its bit to change that. Patterson High School, located about 90 miles east of San Francisco, is actively working to promote trucking to a younger audience, with a special emphasis on inspiring the next generation of female drivers. As part of that push, the school opened a truck-driving program for its students and the general community in February.
Those efforts are starting to pay off. Two young women, Leilani and Cheyenne, have already expressed interest in a career in trucking. As a senior, Leilani is currently enrolled in the high school trucking program, while Cheyenne, a junior, is enrolled in the school's supply chain and logistics management class and will join the trucking program next year.
"It takes great courage and grit to choose to be the first at anything, and I have utmost respect for Leilani [for choosing] to pursue a career in this male-dominated industry, and I will do everything I can to support her," Dave Dein, the school's commercial driver's license (CDL) coordinator and instructor, told the Patterson Irrigator, a local newspaper. Dein has already made good on that promise. This fall, he organized a successful GoFundMe campaign to raise money to send the two young women to the Women In Trucking conference in November.