The Louisiana Workforce Commission is hoping to ease the truck driver shortage across the state by offering free truck driver training to qualified applicants.
The program, “Drive Your Future,” was spurred by the truck driver shortage and the supply chain crisis the country is facing right now.
“From food to furniture, truck drivers help keep Louisiana’s economy moving,” said LWC Secretary Ava Cates. “The pandemic dealt a blow to the truck driving industry, one critical to our state. This program will help get a new crop of drivers on the road and help keep goods flowing.”
The “Drive Your Future” program will pay for qualifying students across the state to attend certain accredited truck driving schools and earn their Commercial Driver’s License. Focusing on veterans and the underemployed, the program’s goal is to get Louisianans on the road to a new career.
The American Trucking Association (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
“The truck driver shortage isn’t going away anytime soon, and we have a responsibility to get goods and services to Louisianians in a timely fashion,” said Cates. “The most impactful way LWC can deliver is to get people trained and get drivers behind the wheel.”
LWC will partner with Diesel Driving Academy, Coastal Driving Academy and South Louisiana Community College to train drivers. People interested in the training and a career in truck driving can click here to apply.
The first classes are expected to start later this month.