The trucking industry and its carriers are looking to recruit more female and veteran truck drivers by dedicating monetary resources and making changes to their training programs.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently awarded $1 million to driver training programs across seven technical and community colleges. The funds will provide training for military veterans as they transition into a truck or bus driving career.
“These types of programs are just one small way in which we can show our appreciation and commitment to our nation’s veterans, and thank them for their brave service,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
While the FMCSA is donating its resources to help veterans, carriers are making changes to their training programs in order to accommodate female drivers.
Besides offering more time in driving simulators, carriers have taken the approach of creating a more welcoming and comforting environment. Support groups and female training specialists are now commonly available, sexual harassment awareness and self-defense classes are provided to help feel truckers feel safer while on the road, and some carriers now allow their current drivers — male or female — to train their spouses.
Women only make up for 5.1 percent of U.S. truck drivers, so carriers understand that it’s a steep hill to climb.“It’s probably a 20-year project, so we’ll continue to have to find ways to get the word out that this is a good career option for women,” said Steve Brantley, director of recruiting for USA Truck.