A newly introduced bill would attempt to grow the U.S. transportation workforce through an advertising campaign.
The “Promoting Service in Transportation Act” (H.R. 5118) was introduced on November 15 by Reps. Rick Larsen, Don Young, and Angie Craig.
The bill would attempt to attract workers to transportation careers by allowing the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to “develop a series of broadcast, digital and print media public service announcement campaigns to promote job opportunities and improve diversity in the transportation workforce.”
According to a press release from Larsen’s office, the public service campaigns created by DOT would have two functions:
- Promote career opportunities in the transportation sector, including pilots, safety inspectors, mechanics and technicians, air traffic controllers, flight attendants, truck drivers, engineers, transit workers, railroad workers, and other transportation professionals.
- Increase diversity, including race, gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, of professionals in the transportation sector.
Lawmakers say that many sectors in transportation including trucking need more workers to stay competitive:
The need for more professional airline pilots, air traffic controllers, railroad workers and truck drivers, mechanics, among other professions, grows as industry stakeholders face increased competition worldwide. For instance, the aviation industry will need more than 800,000 pilots, 769,000 technicians and nearly 20,000 air traffic controllers to meet demand over the next 10 years. The trucking industry needs 60,000 to 100,000 more drivers each year. Not only does the transportation workforce face significant shortages, there is also a diversity issue: over 90 percent of professional airline pilots and truck drivers are white males.
“In Washington state and across the country, transportation means jobs,” said Larsen. “As demand continues to grow, it is important all Americans are aware of the career opportunities available in the transportation sector to grow the next generation workforce. I will continue working in Congress to make sure all Americans have access to good-paying jobs and more skills training to succeed.”
While the bill points to a shortage of truck drivers in the U.S., trucking groups like OOIDA have for years argued that the truck driver shortage is a myth — and that the real problem is stagnating driver wages and high turnover.