According to the American Trucking Association (ATA) the country will be short 100,000 truck drivers by 2023 with nearly a third of truck drivers nearing retirement.
Now, the Louisiana Workforce Commission is working with local community colleges to provide grants for students interested in pursuing their CDL.
SLCC provides a six week course for those seeking CDLs but with the help of the Louisiana workforce commission, 48 grants will be provided to those who qualify and are interested in attaining their CDL.
“The cost of the class is $5,125 and the grant covers the full cost of the class for those that apply and meet the requirements set by the Louisiana workforce commission. It’s going to cover the full amount for them to get their skill.” Workforce Economic Development Interim Vice President, Anthony Baham said.
“You know if you get an opportunity where you don’t have to come out of pocket to get into the program and it’s a good program. There should be no excuses. And I advise anyone to get into it while it’s good,” Student Corey Kennedy said.
Several say another factor of the shortage is the perceptions people have of truck drivers.
The ATA estimates that about 72% of America's freight transport moves by trucks. The ATA also estimates that the shortage of truck drivers could be as high as 80,000, and that number is expected to grow for a number of reasons:
• High average age of current drivers, which leads to a high number of retirements;
• Women making up only 7% of all drivers, well below their representation in the total workforce
• Infrastructure and other issues, like a lack of truck parking spots, which causes drivers to stop driving earlier than they need to so they can get a spot for the night, and congestion which limits drivers' ability to safely and efficiently make deliveries
“They have men truck drivers and female truck drivers. Of all different ages coming straight out of school, trying to get their CDL to change their lives. Just trying to make themselves into another person,” student Drakkar Broussard said.
However, there is no doubt the trucking industry is essential.
officials say nearly all items in your home were brought to you somehow by a truck.
“There are so many options like your initial training is only a starting point. It’s a launching pad that can bring you in so many different directions,” Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics Charlotte Leleux said.
“It’s not really hard, just take a step back and gather yourself and you’ll be alright,” Broussard said.
In order to qualify for the grant you will need a DOTD physical and drug screening and acquire a permit prior to applying for the grant.
Spots will fill up quickly so you are advised to submit your application before the final class begins on May 1.
If you do not get selected, SLCC administrators say other grant options are available.
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