The Qualified Truck Driver ShortagePosted on May 8, 2012 by adminQualified truck drivers begin with qualified CDL candidates who are prepared for the challenge of living the life of a truck driver.
The American Trucking Association and the Carriers they represent continually claim they are struggling to locate qualified drivers yet little accountability is aimed at truck driver training carriers who recruit at enormous levels and have grossly high turnover rates.
Retention is directly related to management and leadership. The trucking industry has failed to take initiative to zero in on how drivers are being recruited with misleading advertisements and the antiquated policies that affect retention.
In order to retain drivers, you must understand their needs. Driving jobs are not “One Size Fits All” and this is especially true for Women who have proven to be reliable and responsible qualified truck drivers.
Attracting Women into trucking is not the problem; retaining them past their training period and the lack of leadership with a clear path to success remains an issue. This is true for CDL candidates of both genders, therefore it is imperative qualified candidates are made aware that simply paying an enormous CDL training tuition that can range from $4000 – $10,000 does not guarantee that a qualified candidate will still be trucking one year later, yet they will still be obligated to repay any loans they have taken out to pay for CDL school.
The Dan Rather Investigative Report series on truck driver training included an episode called “Mind Your Loan Business” and any prospective CDL student should watch it before they make an agreement with ANY CDL school training so they are not ripped off. They should also “Google” any CDL school or training carrier they are considering on consumer complaints boards, state attorney case filings and the forum section ”The Truckers Report ~ Good and Bad Company Listings”.
Any CDL candidate, recruiter or concerned citizen should understand that CDL training is an industry within an industry just as other For-Profit schools, there may or may not be the long-term career you were sold when you agreed to the tuition loan. CDL Mills churn truck driving students out in a few weeks and many should never operate a commercial motor vehicle but because they can pay the tuition in cash or qualify for some type of federal or state work placement assistance grant they are sold “the dream”.
CDL recruiters work for commissions, some have little knowledge of trucking and are hired because they know how to “close” a loan, and they are salespeople. Rule of thumb: The more they advertise, they more concerned you should be about the credibility of that carrier or CDL school.
Prospective CDL candidates should also understand that certifications that appear as sanctioned by the major trucking organizations mean very little because often logos claiming a higher standard of training excellence are little more than collaborations with little accountability to track the ethics of the school who display them. It is simply a collaboration of cohorts to attract tuition dollars.
This is precisely why it is up to each individual who intends to survive past their first year in trucking and beyond to know these truths and become the qualified candidate that moves on in the industry to become a qualified truck driver and works for an ethical carrier who values their drivers or learn enough to become a successful insurable owner-operator.
Attending a poor CDL School does not mean you cannot emerge as a qualified driver but it may save you thousands of dollars if you check with local community colleges for programs first. A lower priced CDL Mill even offer better instructors and you might find the price is negotiable.
Good drivers can emerge from CDL schools with bad reputations and from those not affiliated with any sanctioned trucking industry organization if the CDL candidate is diligent about going the extra mile to listen, learn, ask questions and take notes. Conversely, a poor candidate who is unsafe to drive can be put behind the wheel of a big rig on our highways who graduated from a CDL school that has every logo sanctioned by the American Trucking Association and the Department of Transportation.
This is the failure of the industry and this is why you, as a serious qualified candidate must take pro-active measures to research trucking before you sign on the dotted line to pay for CDL school and allow yourself to be recruited by a carrier that does not value ethical treatment of their driver candidates.
This is especially true for Women who are entering trucking due to the added issues of lax personal safety policies which have created an added burden to an already poorly monitored training system.
Preparation before accepting employment offers from truck driver training carriers is essential for CDL candidates to ensure long-term success. Training fleets often claim they have a shortage of drivers but this is not accurate. These carriers operate on very low wage labor, therefore the only shortage they have is of qualified trainers to train the constant stream of CDL candidates who are willing to work for wages below the minimum in order to have the chance for a better paying job in the future.
Training fleets have shortage of trainers who can or will train Women. Trucking industry Men should understand that women truckers are not represented accurately and this less than serious image hurts Women who would like to enter trucking.
It is impractical to expect mixed genders that are not properly trained in sexual misconduct policies and procedures to live and work in the highly intense situation truck driver training requires with no supervision.
Women entering trucking should not be encouraged to put their guards down as they graduate from their CDL School and begin “finishing school” training at the carriers where they are recruited.
Accommodations for Women truckers should not be to make the truck suitable for a female to operate it. This idea only serves to hurt Women who are willing and able-bodied to take on the task.
Unique needs of Women though should be mindful of personal safety within the carrier first and foremost due to the nature of the job. Women truckers work hard and are less likely to engage in “hot dog” behavior; they maintain company equipment like it is their own and with proper training in advance of what to anticipate from this new “lifestyle” in addition to learning how to operate a Commercial Motor Vehicle, Women make stable and efficient truck drivers.
Women are diverse and should not be represented by a small population who are owner-operators who may have been trained in a manner that is no longer relevant. Training fleets are where students must cut their teeth in today’s trucking; therefore mentoring programs should be matched accordingly to condition students for the environment they are to assimilate into.
Sourcing information for female student trucking candidates should be done by other female truckers or appropriately trained male trainers/mentors in the training carrier who educate the candidate on company policies as well as skills they will require to become a stable and qualified truck driver.
Men tend to believe that the mere presence of a woman represents all women, this is wrong. Women have agendas just like Men in business circles. All women are not “Motherly” nor do they all care about other Women’s needs. This can be problematic in industries where there is a large Male population. Men often do not recognize such behaviors which can create a hostile environment for Women.
Whether a woman is: Married driving Solo, married driving team, Divorced not looking to get married, Divorced/Single and looking to get married, or Lesbian/Transgender/Intersexed, it is time for the trucking industry to recognize diversity and address it in relation to the training atmosphere.
A Paper tigress’ may sell you a media image but is it realistic to retain qualified drivers?
Qualified truck drivers begin with qualified candidates, Networking Women early to other qualified drivers helps them to gain confidence while they are isolated in training and gather information to keep them safe on the road.
By helping Women entering trucking to recognize road behavior that should be documented and reported right away to the carrier protects from legal matters later and is an ethical policy all truck driver training carriers should employ.
Retaliation aimed at females who report harassment, sexual misconduct and hostile treatment remains an issue in 2012, even in post CRST Sex Harassment scandal. Unethical truck driver training carriers must be defined who continue to allow these issues to persist for CDL students.
The trucking industry may say they have a truck driver shortage crisis but what they truly need to focus on is to increase their qualified female trainer population, properly train male trainers and those expected to complete “team driving” as part of training so that they may fully understand the consequences of sexual misconduct while living and working together.
Training carriers should make an effort to create a networking process with a “Pay it Forward” training program geared for Women to encourage more females to become truck driver trainers.
CDL students must understand the current haphazard methods of truck driver training are the reason there is a qualified truck driver shortage. By understanding these preliminary obstacles in trucking you can take charge of your CDL career to become a qualified truck driver past one year and beyond.