Because trucking is a part of what, we do have long recognized the impact the trucking industry has on our everyday lives. We care immensely about and have followed the industry closely to stay abreast of industry requirements and compliance standards long before the general public came to realize just how vital motor carriers and truck drivers are to our general well-being and comfort. Over the last two years, global supply chain issues and product shortages have become all too common, making it impossible to ignore the importance of a well-stocked and well-trained pool of quality truck drivers.
In an effort to address the increasing shortage of truck drivers in the United States, the Biden/Harris administration introduced the Trucking Action Plan, T.A.P., on December 16, 2021, with the general mission of supporting and expanding access to quality driving jobs by:
- Reducing barriers to entry into the profession by addressing pandemic-driven delays in obtaining a commercial driver’s license;
- Accelerating Registered Apprenticeship programs for drivers to put more skilled, safe drivers on the road through a 90-Day Challenge;
- Encouraging the provision of high-quality training to promote a reduction of unqualified drivers that lead to increased liabilities; and
- Creating accessible pathways into the industry for veterans and under-represented communities, including women.
Reducing Barriers to Entry
In December 2021, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration pledged over $30 million in funding to help the status expedite the process of obtaining a CDL. In connection with this effort, each of the 50 states was provided with a toolkit laying out actions the state could take to facilitate licensing. The most prevalent reasons for the delays were tracked, and specific remedies to promote licensure were addressed through a joint effort of the Federal and State governments.
By eliminating unnecessary red tape, with the coordinated efforts of the Administration, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and governors of each state, by the spring of 2022 CDL processing realized a 112% increase, approximately doubling the pool of drivers available to be trained to get goods back on the move and in the hands of the general consumer in support of business as usual.
90-Day Apprenticeship Program to encourage high-quality training
The Apprenticeship Program was designed to attract employers who were interested in developing programs to recruit and place well-trained drivers on the road through the provision of paid, on-the-job learning to develop and retain a highly skilled and safe driving workforce.
As a result of the 90-Day Apprenticeship Challenge, employers across sectors of the trucking industry chose to either adopt or expand their training models, which resulted in more than 200 apprenticeship locations nationwide, across 36 states, and counting. Employers of all sizes are taking advantage of this opportunity to build a more robust pool of talent. Are you among them?
Creating Pathways to Trucking for underrepresented communities
Finally, much like the efforts that have been pushed throughout global commerce to attract and promote diverse talent, in addition to making a concerted effort to connect veterans to trucking carriers, a critical aim of T.A.P was to encourage underrepresented communities including women and young drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 to consider trucking as a profession.
Although there are likely many more untold stories, we have had distinct pleasure of witnessing the effect of T.A.P. first-hand through one of the firm’s very own clients, NFI Industries. As a result of the spotlight placed on the trucking industry by the Biden administration, NFI can serve as an example for attracting female talent, and the company has set its sights on bringing back drivers who have left the business because of poor past experiences.
While the benefits may be gained in inches instead of miles, this appears to be an ongoing effort, and it should feel good to finally be seen as the noble profession trucking was borne to be.
Has your organization felt the effect of T.A.P.? What’s your success story?
You can learn more about the Biden-Harris Trucking Action Plan, T.A.P. at whitehouse.gov.