Driver shortages in the trucking industry are nothing new, but one school in central Pennsylvania is trying to change that. The Mifflin County Academy of Science and Technology (The Academy), a career and technical school in Lewistown, PA that operates an adult CDL training program, was recently awarded over $319,000 to help support CDL registered apprenticeships in the Building and Construction Industry.
Now they need employers who want to be able to take advantage of this funding.
“This is a great opportunity for employers, both large and small, to attract, train, and retain drivers,” explained Mike McMonigal, Supervisor of Adult & Post-Secondary Education at The Academy. “We’re looking to partner with those who want to utilize registered apprenticeships in order to build a pipeline of talent for their company.”
For those employers unfamiliar with registered apprenticeships, they are an employer-driven model that combines on-the-job training with related classroom instruction that increases an apprentice’s skill level and wages. It is a proven solution for businesses to recruit, train, and retain highly skilled workers. In addition, staff from the Apprenticeship and Training Office are available to help answer questions that employers may have.
Many employers use apprenticeships to attract new employees, with the promise of a defined training plan, while others look to promote from within to retain good talent. The PA Smart grant through The Academy will provide funding for the CDL training for women and non-traditional populations. To this end, The Academy is partnering with Women In Trucking Association, a national organization focused on encouraging the employment and support of women in the trucking industry.
“Our mission to bring more women into the trucking industry is driven by the need for safe, professional drivers,” stated Ellen Voie, from Women In Trucking Association. “Who wouldn’t want a safer, more professional driver in their cab?”
Voie also asserts that female commercial drivers have been found to be safer than their male counterparts (according to the American Transportation Research Institute “Crash Causation Study), are typically easier to train and are often more meticulous about their paperwork and their interaction with customers.
The need for employees in the Commonwealth with a Commercial Driver’s License is one that cannot be overstated. Locally, the annual demand for Heavy & Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers is the highest of all high priority occupations in the Central (545 openings), Southcentral (1,764 openings), and Southern Alleghenies (375 openings) Workforce Development Areas, totaling 2,684 annual openings as reported in the 2019 High Priority Occupations list.