Freight transportation trade group the American Trucking Associations (ATA) says it has gotten a “major boost” for its workforce development efforts thanks to the deal it signed yesterday with the Biden Administration labor and transportation departments.
The agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor establishes ATA as an official registered apprenticeship sponsor in a set of government programs that offer federal funding and education for job training. That designation means that ATA can now provide its member-companies the ability to offer apprenticeships to job applicants while ATA and its partner FASTPORT—a USDOL intermediary specializing in transportation and logistics—administers the program for the participating companies.
The approach could help trucking companies to generate a new pipeline of workers to fill high-demand jobs such a diesel technicians and truck drivers. Both ATA and the White House say that truck driver shortages have contributed to historically tight freight capacity conditions that have been driving up transportation and logistics costs for retailers and manufacturers.
To address the issue, trucking fleets can now offer apprenticeships that combine paid, on-the-job training with instruction to prepare new drivers and technicians for those careers. Motor carriers can also now boast expanded outreach and training support, as well as expanded support services for prospective drivers.
“This is truly an earn-while-you-learn program,” ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said in a release. “But it’s more than just a paycheck for apprentices: by participating in a registered program, they are eligible for things like child care, housing allowances, and other support as they start down this new career path.”
Under the apprenticeship program, ATA members will need to meet certain training and compensation standards as they bring in new drivers for a two-year apprenticeship program that will provide graduated wages as drivers develop and expand their skills.
“We appreciate the American Trucking Associations joining the effort to expand Registered Apprenticeships to meet the needs of the nation’s employers while connecting workers to good-paying jobs and a path to middle-class wages and opportunities,” U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said in a release. “What I love about Registered Apprenticeship is that it is a partnership. When employers and industry step up, we are ready to partner and support them to adopt this high-road training model to meet their critical workforce needs.”
Today we a historic agreement with @USDOL establishing ATA as an official registered #apprenticeship sponsor. This enables ATA to provide our member-companies the ability to offer apprenticeships to job applicants while ATA and partner FASTPORT administer the program. pic.twitter.com/jDHSXjVXpi— American Trucking (@TRUCKINGdotORG) March 1, 2022
Partnerships with organizations like @TRUCKINGdotORG are a key part of @USDOL and @USDOT's efforts to support and build a next generation trucking workforce.— Secretary Marty Walsh (@SecMartyWalsh) March 1, 2022
By expanding Registered Apprenticeships, we can connect more workers with good driving jobs. https://t.co/aw7esGsVCe