Nationwide, there are 50,000 vacant driver positions, according to an estimate by the American Trucking Associations (ATA), who predicts the driver shortage will rise to 175,000 by 2026.
U.S. Bank, a provider of freight payments and the Voyager fleet card system, recently partnered with the ATA and Minneapolis nonprofit North@Work to address the truck driver shortage at a local level. The organizations hosted a panel and showcase event at Dart Transit headquarters in Eagan, Minn.
Jeff Pape, senior vice president of product and marketing for U.S. Bank Global Transportation, estimates that representatives from up to 20 local trucking companies attended the event. Professional drivers from America’s Road Team, an outreach program by ATA, also spoke at the meeting.
North@Work focuses on connecting African American males, ages 25 and older, with sustainable career paths. In the past 18 months, 60 men have graduated from its Class B license program and its first Class A-licensed driver graduated earlier this year.
Tony Tolliver, director of workplace innovation for North@Work, hopes the involvement diversifies professional truck drivers and helps solve the issue of driver hiring and retention across the state – where one in 18 jobs is in the industry.
The organization announced that it will be putting on an event in mid-April in the Minneapolis area to sign up more drivers for its free CDL training program.
“We’re changing the lives for the people of North Minneapolis who are ready and willing to the work by filling the gap employers need while giving those from under-served communities a chance,” said Tolliver.
For its part, U.S. Bank is working to grow digital capabilities for carrier companies that assist the driver, rather than replacing them.
“We are working on a number of different mobile solutions and user experiences to help make the driver experience easier and more productive,” Pape said. “There are great achievements to be made with the growth of advanced technology.”
Events such as that with the ATA and North@Work are aligned with U.S. Bank Community Possible, the company’s social responsibility platform through which it aims on closing gaps between people and possibility.