With no end to the driver shortage in sight, motor carriers are stepping up their efforts to support driver-training programs in a bid to develop a pipeline of talent. The latest example is Green Bay, Wisconsin-based truckload and logistics services provider Schneider Transportation Management. Schneider recently donated 10 "gently used" Class 8 vehicles to commercial drivers license (CDL) driver-training programs at community and technical colleges in Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Texas.
The company is providing Freightliner Cascadia models that include automated manual transmissions and some of the industry's most advanced technologies. That choice of transmission is deliberate, since driver training is significantly more efficient when using an automated manual transmission that allows trainers to focus on maneuverability and awareness, rather than gear changing, Schneider says.
According to Schneider, the strategy could also help to broaden the pool of potential drivers by attracting candidates who were often overlooked in the past. "Women and younger adults are an emerging driver pool, and we believe technologies like automated manual transmissions, safety, and connectivity will attract a more diverse audience to the trucking industry," Rob Reich, executive vice president and chief administrative officer at Schneider, said in a release. "Learning on modern equipment spec'ed with some of the latest technologies and creature comforts helps attract new candidates and allows them to adjust more quickly to the new trucks operating within our fleet."