Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher has announced a program to increase Kentucky’s work force in the trucking industry. The program, called the Entrepreneurial Trucking Initiative, is designed to bring economic opportunity to individuals in the Greater Louisville area, particularly those in the designated Empowerment Zone, a 5,400-acre tract in the center of the city that houses one of the community’s most distressed inner-city neighborhoods.
The area has a high concentration of at-risk populations: ex-offenders, recovering addicts and disenfranchised youth. Almost half of the residents live at or below the poverty level, and of those, 90 percent are unemployed. “Everyone deserves a second chance,” says Tierra Kavanaugh-Turner, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Minority Empowerment. “This initiative is an economic development initiative.”
The Entrepreneurial Trucking Initiative, which will be administered by Jefferson Community and Technical College, will serve 40 individuals this year. Eligible individuals who complete the eight-week program will obtain a commercial driver’s license. Graduates who place with a trucking company through the program should earn about $34,000 a year, Kavanaugh-Turner says. “It will offer much more than a one-time job opportunity,” she says. “Participants in the program will learn lifelong career training and financial independence.”