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Understanding the 90-day apprenticeship challenge and whether it will help create more truckers.

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A stark reality of the trucking business today is the sheer number of open positions. The industry was short of at least 80,000 drivers by late last year, according to the estimates of the American Trucking Association. That number could double by the end of the decade.

 

To accelerate the development of new trucking apprenticeship programs, the Federal government kicked off the 90-day apprenticeship challenge in mid-December. 

 

President Joe Biden addressed the nation and thanked the truckers for their constant cooperation even during the time of the pandemic. The President then highlighted the multiple transportation issues the country has been facing. The President has also highlighted the problems in wages which are mostly faced by the truckers. To address all these problems, the 90 days apprenticeship challenge has been given by the government.

 

All you need to know about the 90 days of apprenticeship

This program has been formed by a partnership between the US Department of Labor, the White House, and the US Department of Transportation. The main purpose of this apprenticeship program is to promote the Registered Apprenticeship model as a solution for getting more well-trained drivers on the road in good-paying jobs. This action has been taken by the government to support and enable the next generation of the trucking workforce. 

 

The trucking industry is one of the pivotal industries in the US, but it has been facing long-standing recruitment and retention challenges. Many of these challenges are further exacerbated for women.  

 

To meet the demand of the trucking industry and look after the better future of truckers, the Biden administration has brought forward the 90-day apprenticeship challenge. By working together with DOT and other partners, the apprenticeship program mainly aims for improving access to high-quality training for new drivers. The program also aims to help employers to develop and retain a diversified, skilled, and safe workplace. The Biden administration launched this program on 17 December 2021 as a way for evolving the trucking industry, addressing the trucking workforce challenge, and build the next generation of truck drivers. For this, the administration has been working with truckers, trucking companies, and industry bodies. The registered apprenticeship program could not only provide high-quality paid job training, but it could also reduce debt for drivers, and increase the number of drivers who stay on the job. 



Benefits of the programs

The apprenticeship program has been framed so that the truck industry of the country can be taken to new heights. As there is always high demand in this industry, the 90-day apprenticeship challenge has been framed to benefit both truckers and employers. Trucking companies participating in the program could offset a portion of their costs associated with the training of truckers appointed by the company. 

The benefits of the program are

  • Truckers can meet with the apprenticeship experts and learn more about the program. 
  • Truckers can develop their skills and knowledge. 
  • The job quality of truckers in the profession can be improved. 
  • Truckers can build their skills and improve the chances of getting a good payable job. 
  • The partnership is addressing the nationwide shortage of qualified professional truckers. 
  • Employers also benefit from the program as they can hire talented truckers and keep the supply chain intact. 
  • The employers would be allowed to recruit and retain truckers from a diversified talent pool 

The success of the program

Initial reports suggest that the program has been received well. Mass employers and truckers have gotten involved in the program and applied. 

 

Employers have already started supplying paid on-the-job training for the student apprentices so that they can earn a commercial driver’s license and launch a highly skilled career. The investments made in the apprenticeship program are helping companies to get more truckers interested in the program. 

 

Today, the apprenticeship program includes employers, industry and labor associations, education providers, intermediaries, and career seekers. Over 500 new truck driver apprentices have been hired as a direct result of the challenge. 

 

The headlines are full of how the economy has been facing supply chain constraints with a driver shortage being cited as one of the chief culprits. The trucking sector has great expectations from this decision taken by the Biden government as a part of the Trucking Action Plan. The expansion of this 90-day apprenticeship challenge is a key component of the plan. With the employers and industries ready with their setup for training, this high road training model could help to meet critical workforce needs.