The Next Generation in Trucking Association (NGT) is partnering with high schools and community colleges across the country to launch truck driver and technician training programs, in response to a growing need for trucking professionals nationwide.
This week, the group announced partnerships with schools in California, Kentucky, and Wisconsin, offering training programs that will eventually lead to jobs. The program aims to address an industry shortage of drivers, according to NGT.
“Programs like this one are critical game changers for not only developing a skilled workforce but also creating pathways for that skilled workforce to advance in their careers in the trucking industry,” Lindsey Trent, Ryder customer and business development manager, which operates in Kentucky, and co-chair of Next Generation in Trucking, said in a statement. “We are eager to train, mentor, and match a fresh generation of drivers to the 21st century needs and demands of the trucking industry.”
NGT said the truck driver shortage is expected to grow to more than 174,000 by 2026, according to industry estimates, and that an aging fleet of drivers is a key part of the problem. The average age of a commercial truck driver in the United States is 55 and the average age of a driver entering Commercial Drivers License (CDL) training is nearly 35, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“Truck driving is a physically demanding job, but also requires an understanding of the technology many trucks are outfitted with today. By starting a trucker’s career earlier, we not only get digitally native drivers behind the wheel, but drivers in their prime,” Trent also said.
NGT is partnering with schools nationwide to launch CDL programs tailored to local needs. Recent partnerships include Patterson High School, Patterson, Calif.; Lawrence County High School in Louisa, Ky.; Jessamine Career and Technology Center, Nicholasville, Ky.; Fairdale High School, Louisville, Ky; and Lux-Casco, Luxemburg, Wis.