Trucking Industry Employment Shortage

There is an ever-increasing gap between what MMTA members need for drivers/mechanics and the availability and quality of employees in Maine.  On October 8, 2014, the MMTA Board of Directors brought together a gathering of people with different backgrounds to help the trucking industry in Maine get its arms around the issue so that the Association can help bring about change if possible.

Here are the results of that discussion.

 

CHALLENGES TO OVERCOME:

  • Industry Image
    • Public perception about the trucking industry.
    • Driver perception of their role in the economy and their professional image.
    • Technician positions need to be recognized as being a highly technical and skilled career.
    • Shippers/Receivers recognition of delay impacts on driver’s schedules and family life.
  • Age/Experience Restrictions
    • FMCSA regulations
    • Insurance requirements
    • State regulations regarding minors in the workforce
  • Industry’s Connection to High Schools
    • Making sure Guidance Counselors know about careers in trucking.
  • Industry’s Connection to (and support of) Technical Schools and Training Opportunities
    • Financial resources are sometimes a barrier for a lot of students.
    • Connecting employers with internship/apprenticeship/mentoring opportunities.
    • Connecting employers with opportunities to donate equipment and/or expertise.
  • Recognizing CDL Instructor Shortage as an Impediment
  • Maine’s Adoption of Federal Rules Prohibiting Students Under 18 From Obtaining a CDLP
    • Adversely impacts truck driving training schools and the potential truck drivers they produce beginning in July of 2015.

 

SOLUTIONS TO CONSIDER:

  • Image campaign
    • Recognize ATA’s efforts with Trucking Moves America Forward program.
    • Reflect on what other industries are doing to promote their professions.
  • Scholarships to reduce/eliminate financial barrier.
    • Work with MMTA members to fill needs.
    • Consider changing scope of John W. Austin Memorial Scholarship Fund.
  • Work With Maine’s Congressional Delegation on the Following Federal Issues:
    • CDL drivers must be 21 to operate in interstate commerce
      • Support efforts to come up with a distance limit for younger drivers instead of limiting their operation based upon an artificial border.
      • Also make sure these efforts include freight movements that further interstate commerce within Maine as well.
    • Allow Maine an exemption to allow students under 18 to obtain a CDLP through an approved instruction program.
  • Work with BMV on Instructor Licensing Issue
    • Find ways to streamline the process and minimize the red tape.
  • Emphasis on Veterans for Jobs in the Trucking Industry
    • Focus on Virginia’s Troops to Trucks program that gets veterans educated and licensed as quickly as possible.
    • Promote utilization of the GI bill to pay for truck driving or technician training.
  • Coordinate and Communicate with DOL resources
    • Job bank website.
    • Focus on jobs needing a Professionally Required Credential.
    • Work on potential legislation relative to minors in the workforce.