ATA, TCA offer program for driver training
Mar 24, 2006 11:38 AM
The American Trucking Associations (ATA), in cooperation with the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), has unveiled an initiative designed to provide financial assistance to men and women who wish to attend truck driver training schools.
The initiative is part of ongoing efforts to reduce the nation's shortage of long-haul truck drivers.
The ATA/TCA Company Driver Tuition Finance Program partners motor carriers and lending institutions to provide low-interest financing to those who wish to attend a driver training school but otherwise might not be able to afford it.
The motor carrier guarantees the student loan in exchange for his or her commitment to work for the motor carrier upon graduation.
ATA said the program is modeled after one successfully piloted by Ray Kuntz, ATA vice-chairman and Watkins Shepard Trucking chief executive officer, as a means of addressing the company's shortage of long-haul truck drivers.
Truck driver training schools annually turn away hundreds of eligible driver candidates due to lack of funding or an inability to obtain loans, he said.
"The number of new drivers coming to us and that are in the pipeline to become drivers is increasing every month," Kuntz said. "Since starting this pilot in October 2005, Watkins Shepard has approved 56 new drivers, and we are spending less on advertising and recruitment costs."
The long-haul, heavy-duty truck transportation industry in the United States currently is experiencing a national shortage of 20,000 truck drivers. That shortage of long-haul truck drivers could increase to 111,000 by 2014 if current demographic trends stay their course and if the overall labor force continues to grow at a slower pace, according to ATA.
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