According to the American Trucking Association, there is currently a shortage of 80,000 truck drivers in the US.(1) This shortage has also worsened the supply chain crisis affecting the nation. According to a New York Times article, this driver shortage and supply chain crisis has led to empty store shelves and congestion at the ports.(2) Then, when you consider there are 6 million unemployed people in the nation(3)—and countless of them underemployed—it would seem that there is an opportunity to solve two problems beleaguering America.
Karla Jo Helms, host of the Disruption/Interruption podcast interviews Dave Dein, who after a lustrous 30-plus-year career in logistics, trucking and education is now a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) instructor at Patterson High School in California. Dein explains that one of the problems facing the industry is an aging workforce. According to Dein, close to 25% of all current drivers are nearing retirement age.
“The image of the truck driver has also changed. This is now an industry that is recruiting people from every imaginable background. The disruption has occurred because you have MBAs who became tired of the rat race and now enjoy the freedom of truck driving,” adds Helms.
Dave Dein explains:
- Disrupting the Status Quo—Because there is a shortage of skilled and trained drivers, companies are now enticing drivers with more benefits packages, paid time off, a salaried position compared to per load or per mile. The main ingredient for disruption is to create a pipeline of young, well-trained talent and provide them opportunities to learn the industry. These need to be young people who are passionate about trucking and not in it for the dollar bills.
- Disrupting Recruitment—It’s estimated that in the next 7 years, we could have a shortage of 125,000 drivers. We need more young people and more female drivers. The percentage of female drivers and role models have been stagnant over the years, only about 10% of the total work force. With his program, Dave aims to reach out to young kids and adults with female role models to plant a seed and educate them about a possible career. In fact, when Dave and his students address younger classmen with a 30-minute presentation, 47% responded that they would consider taking a class once they reach high school.
- Disrupting the Industry—All of Dave’s industry partners have bridged the missing link by creating career pathways for the students by bringing them into the industry. The average person entering the trucking industry today is 38 years old, mainly because they have monetary liabilities, and the trucking industry can solve their financial problems. With more influx of younger people, the dynamics of the industry can be changed.
- Disrupting the Future— With new emission norms and regulations, the trucking industry has to adapt to new technology, such as electric-powered trucks or hydrogen-powered trucks. Currently, there is no sustainable infrastructure to support this.
Dave and his team’s mission is twofold; first, to reach as many high school students as possible to provide them with the opportunity and possibility of a career in trucking. And second, to educate schools on how to market their programs, how to recruit and connect with industry partners, and how to get the school’s program up and running. This is the best way to combat the shortage and stop it from worsening.
Disruption Interruption is the podcast where you’ll hear from today’s biggest Industry Disruptors. Learn what motivated them to bring about change and how they overcome opposition to adoption.
Disruption Interruption can be listened to via the Podbean app and is available on Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
About Disruption Interruption:
Disruption is happening on an unprecedented scale, impacting all manner of industries— MedTech, Finance, IT, eCommerce, shipping and logistics, and more—and COVID has moved their timelines up a full decade or more. But WHO are these disruptors and when did they say, “THAT’S IT! I’VE HAD IT!”? Time to Disrupt and Interrupt with host Karla Jo “KJ” Helms, veteran communications disruptor. KJ interviews bad a**es who are disrupting their industries and altering economic networks that have become antiquated with an establishment resistant to progress. She delves into uncovering secrets from industry rebels and quiet revolutionaries that uncover common traits—and not-so-common—that are changing our economic markets… and lives. Visit the world’s key pioneers that persist to success, despite arrows in their backs at http://www.
About Karla Jo Helms:
Karla Jo Helms is the Chief Evangelist and Anti-PR(TM) Strategist for JOTO PR Disruptors(TM).
Karla Jo learned firsthand how unforgiving business can be when millions of dollars are on the line—and how the control of public opinion often determines whether one company is happily chosen, or another is brutally rejected. Being an alumnus of crisis management, Karla Jo has worked with litigation attorneys, private investigators, and the media to help restore companies of goodwill into the good graces of public opinion—Karla Jo operates on the ethic of getting it right the first time, not relying on second chances and doing what it takes to excel. Helms speaks globally on public relations, how the PR industry itself has lost its way and how, in the right hands, corporations can harness the power of Anti-PR to drive markets and impact market perception.
About Dave Dein:
Dave Dein began his career in the trucking industry in 1988 to pay his way through college. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, he went to work for a large manufacturing company as a driver/manager. During his time there, he logged more than 700,000 accident/ticket-free miles. But education was his passion. In 1999, Dein became an elementary school teacher in Patterson, California. But he wanted to do more for individuals marginalized by society, so he founded a tuition-free, non-profit truck driving school called Faith Logistics, where he would spend his off-hours training prison inmates how to drive commercial trucks, while also providing them job placement assistance.
1. Poitevint, Bobby; “New truck driver school opens in Bessemer; expects to graduate 500 annually”; 19 April 2022; ABC News; abc3340.com/news/local/new-
2. Ngo, Madeleine and Swanson, Ana; “The Biggest Kink in America’s Supply Chain: Not Enough Truckers”; 9 Nov 2021; The New York Times; nytimes.com/2021/11/09/us/
3. News Release; “The Employment Situation—March 2022”; 01 April 2022; US Bureau of Labor Statistics; bls.gov/news.release/pdf/