Today, American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear told a House committee that Congress must do more to help the trucking industry develop and retain the workforce needed to meet the freight demands of a growing country and economy.
“Over the next decade, trucks will be tasked with moving 2.4 billion more tons of freight than they do today. For that to happen, we must continue to put safety and our workforce first. Today, the trucking industry invests more than $10 billion annually in safety and employee development,” Spear told the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
Spear highlighted recommendations where Congress can do more to bolster trucking’s workforce, which would better allow the industry “to safely and responsibly meet consumer and economic demands over the next decade.”
Specifically, Spear highlighted:
- Shoring up the growing shortage of talent, most notably 78,000 drivers and 41,000 technicians. Spear emphasized rising rates of pay, industry outreach to bring in more women and minorities into trucking and “capitalizing on Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act development and technology for 18–20-year-olds to cross state lines, far exceeding all existing state requirements.”
- “We need to end the unfounded assault on the nine-decade-old independent contractor model, jeopardizing not only the jobs and lives of 350,000 truck drivers throughout the country, but the millions of other American workers who willingly chose this professional path,” Spear said.
- Untangling “federal and state regulations, from credentialing and certifications to combating opioid abuse and state legalization of recreational marijuana,” is an area Congress should focus on, he said.
- Finally, Spear said a “post-COVID Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act makeover ensure our industry is defined as essential, skilled and in-demand, and that local workforce boards resource trucking accordingly.”
“We need to double down on workforce development,” he said. “It is what gives every employee job security and growth opportunities.”