The common rule of thumb used in the trucking industry is that there is work equal to 80,000 more truckers than there are drivers to do that work. The simplest solution to this would be to increase the pay of truckers to attract more talent, but the business is more complicated than that. To that end, the White House has released a statement regarding what it calls the Trucking Action Plan (TAP).
What TAP Entails
Like most governmental announcements, the TAP statement is anything but concise. To get the full story for yourself, you will want to read the 2,300 word statement. For those of us who would rather be out on the road, here is a condensed version.
The White House is hoping to expand the Registered Apprenticeship program approved by the Department of Labor (DOL). Contrasting to a similar Trump proposal, the program is driven by the government rather than the industry. The DOL is using a program called FASTPORT to work with employers, unions, and industry associations so that they may establish their Registered Apprenticeship programs.
The Off-Base Transition Training Pilot Program helps veterans transfer to a civilian job once completed with their service. The DOL hopes to use it to make trucking a viable civilian career for veterans.
Driving Good Jobs
The Department of Transportation and DOL are working together to start what they call the Driving Good Jobs initiative. Its purpose is to raise the quality-of-life truckers participate in to reduce turnover and increase retention. Some of its planned projects include:
- Setting up a task force to investigate predatory truck leasing arrangements.
- Studying the issue of unpaid detention time.
- A pilot program that allows drivers under 21 to travel across state lines with rigorous mentorship.
- Hosting listening sessions to hear thoughts from industry stakeholders.
At this point, a lot of these points brought to the forefront by Biden have been talked about for years, if not decades. Whether it is younger drivers traveling interstate or stopping unpaid loading time, many of the problems facing the trucking industry require a lot fewer hearing sessions and more action to resolve. We hope that these issues of recruitment and retention are solved through the TAP, but based on our experience in the trucking industry, we predict that bureaucracy will rear its ugly head yet again and the can will be kicked further down the road until the next administration.
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