If you are living in Minnesota you should be looking for better paying trucking jobs right now. Companies like AD Transport Express, Barr-Nunn Transportation, and Carrier One are offering big sign-on bonuses and tuition reimbursements. The state is suffering from areas saturated with retiring truckers or lack of truckers who are interested in long haul work. In places where there aren’t enough trained truck drivers to apply, Minnesota shippers are suffering from longer pick up times and increased rates due to supply and demand.
The state needs drivers, qualified with Class A CDL, to haul the goods. According to the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Minnesota the issue is the loss of qualified truckers who are hitting retirement. To help renew an interest in truck driving jobs in Minnesota, the AASP Minnesota is working to attract younger, potential truck drivers.
Career Ignite Initiative
The group wants to get more young people interested in talking about a career in truck driving. The goal is to spark the conversation about trucking being a viable career path. It also gives trucking associates at AASP Minnesota a chance to speak directly with the younger people about why they may or might not choose trucking. It opens that dialog both ways.
As a way to spread the message about the AASP’s mission the organization joined forces with the Minnesota Trucking Association. John Hausladen of MTA stated, “The combination of an older demographic and more people retiring along with new regulations that either disqualify or frustrate drivers all contributes to us not being able to bring in enough younger people.”
Oil Fields and Age Limits
At the conference the AASP executive director Judell Anderson listed a number of reasons young workers aren’t getting into the trucking industry. The oil fields in North Dakota were getting a large portion of the potential truck driving pool in Minnesota. Also, the increased number of would-be truckers who are continuing with their education to get a professional degree is increasing. Those four-year career paths reduces the chances they have of starting trucking until most are 22 at any rate.
You graduate when you are 18, you can’t drive until you are 21, that’s three years after high school before you can become an over the road trucker. If you are preparing to graduate from college with a four year degree, chances are slim that you’ll forgo finishing your academic studies with one year left to take up life on the road. You have the college debt no matter what, whether or not you graduate. At the same time you may find that becoming a truck driver is what you are well suited to do for an occupation. There is an increasing number of truckers entering the industry with college degrees.
Another reason why Minnesota cares about this situation is that areas with a lack of shipping opportunities will also lack economy. Without a steady and inexpensive flow of goods into the local economy it’s not going to grow and prosper. The state needs to have a steadily operating and running transportation industry, and therefore it has a vital interest in how to keep trucking moving forward. The AASP Minnesota is only one example of this.
Minnesota Trucking Association
The Minnesota Trucking Association has established the Thrive Scholarship Program. This scholarship is available to those drivers in truck driving school to get a CDL to become a professional truck driver. It is also available to individuals getting a certification as a diesel engine technician. You can also get this scholarship for general studies focusing on the trucking industry. You must be enrolled in a degree program associated with trucking to apply for this scholarship. Additionally, you have to be employed in trucking, while hoping to enhance your skills or earn a degree. Finally, you must be related to someone who works for one of the MTA member trucking companies.
MTA and High Schools
Right in line with the promise of the Career Ignite Initiative is the request for high schools in Minnesota to partner with the MTA. The Minnesota Trucking Association is open to requests to offer a hands-on truck driver safety demonstration on campus. The Share the Road program provides partnerships with Minnesota truckers interested in mentoring to high schoolers. This would include having professional truckers on-site to show life saving methods they use over the road. A simulated road is set up to show students some of the most common reasons truckers are involved in accidents.
By offering this programming for high schools throughout Minnesota it does two things. First, it improves the knowledge of all students on how to drive when around a semi truck on the open road. Second, this breaks the social barrier between students interested in truck driving and those who are actual truckers. It gives these students an opportunity to ask a real life truck driver about what their job is like, how much they get paid, where they get to drive to, what they get to haul, etc. Sometimes this is all it takes to get students interested in the career path of truck driving. For a state desperate to attract more truckers to the industry, it is a terrific marketing move.
Career Advancement for Truckers
One reason why millennials are quick to bypass the trucking industry as a job choice is because of the redundancy. It seems like a job that would get boring after a while. Once you learn how to do everything, there wouldn’t be any chance for career advancement or improvement. For millennials this goes against their mode. Millennials are driven to improve themselves and their abilities at their jobs. Therefore there has to be some sort of ongoing training for truckers to give them something to achieve.
This is where the NEXTLeader Program comes in. Also set up by the MTA, this program helps those in the trucking industry increase their leadership capabilities. It takes 24 months to complete the program. In the end you can tack NEXTLeader onto your resume.
The state of Minnesota is offering a ton of career enhancing opportunities for up and coming truck drivers. It is a perfect time for potential truckers to test the waters of the trucking industry.