Looking to close the skills gap within the trucking industry,Congress recently passed a law that is expected to help more military members with relevant experience on their resumes
become truck drivers.Speaking at the Dayton, Ohio headquarters of the International Brotherhood of Teamster Local Union 957 recently, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown said the legislation will help service members make the transition into civilian life by allowing them to get their commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) where they are stationed, the Dayton Daily News reports.If approved by President Barack Obama, the new Military Commercial Driver’s License Act of 2012 could help fill the growing shortage by helping military members get their training more quickly. Current law requires people to get their CDLs in their home states and those licenses are non-transferable. There are tens of thousands of openings in this country for truck drivers, but the problem is there are not enough people trained to do it, Brown, who co-sponsored the bill, told the crowd. “Soon, people who were trained in the military to drive trucks will be able to use that training to more quickly get their commercial drivers licenses in Ohio or wherever they live.”According to the Truckload Carriers Association, there are as many as 200,000 job openings across the U.S. for long haul truckers.In Kansas, the state department of Commerce said there are more than 1,600 open positions for truck drivers, especially in the oil and gas industry. The department is currently working with its local Workforce Investment Board to make more funds available for eligible participants looking to add a CDL to their resume in order to work in the emerging field.This is a tremendous opportunity to work in a high demand, well-paying occupation, Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George told KSN News. “We want everyone to know that these truck driving jobs are open now for individuals with the right training.”Meanwhile, officials in California are also trying to do their part to help those interested in pursuing a career as a truck driver in one of the busiest ports in the U.S. The Long Beach City College (LBCC) Workforce Development unit has partnered with the Harbor Trucking Association to launch a new comprehensive train-to-work program with area trucking companies.This new program at LBCC is a win-win for everyone, Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster said in a press release. “Not only are we providing the necessary training for people to gain employment, but we’re also filling a shortage of drivers to ensure a continued flow of goods at the port.”The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles transport approximately 40% of the country’s containerized cargo.David Bartosic, a spokesman for the Ohio Trucking Association, said the demand for truck drivers exceeds supply and is only getting worse because the economy is beginning to bounce back from the economic downturn. He said with the improving economy, more transportation is needed to get goods to their destinations.However, not all trucking companies just specialize in the transportation of goods. In Illinois, Macoupin County officials have approved a plan that will help TDS Transport in Staunton create more jobs over the next year with a $60,000 loan agreement. TDS drivers work as first responders with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security to set up staging areas following natural disasters.The new 10-year loan agreement is expected to generate 50 new jobs at TDS Transport.According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers are expected to grow faster than the average of other occupations – by 21% – through 2020.