Trucking industry targeting high school students to help fill the ‘driver shortage’

Currently, only about 6% of commercial truck drivers are women, but this high school program hopes to change that.

High School Program

A high school in California is hoping to entice female students into the trucking industry in order to address the so-called ‘truck driver shortage.’

Last year, Patterson High School in Patterson, California, launched the Patterson Professional Truck Driving School to encourage students to get into trucking early. According to the school’s website, the “year long course [is] comprised of 180 hours and consists of classroom instruction, demonstrations, hands-on exercises, and simulator experience. Upon completion of the course students will be prepared to take the CDL written exam.”

The program recently accepted its first female student — Leilani. Another female student, Cheyenne, is set to enter the program next year when she begins her senior year of high school.

Women in Trucking

Currently, only about 6% of commercial truck drivers are women, so the program coordinator couldn’t be happier to have female students willing to take on trucking. “It takes great courage and grit to choose to be the first at anything, and I have utmost respect for Lelani to pursue a career in this male dominated industry and I will do everything I can to support her,” CDL coordinator Dave Dein told SDC.

Realizing that the girls needed role models in the trucking industry, Dein set up a GoFundMe campaign and was able to send them to the Women in Trucking conference in Texas earlier this month.

High School Trucking

The Patterson Professional Truck Driving School, which also trains adults in the community, says that their mission is to fight the truck driver shortage and to provide students with the training they need to earn a good living.

Many trucking industry experts including OOIDA have long argued that there is no real truck driver shortage — despite widespread mainstream media coverage that claims that more than 50,000 truck drivers are needed to meet current demand. Instead, OOIDA argues that overregulation and low pay have created a serious driver turnover problem which is perceived by outsiders as a truck driver shortage.