- The New Partnership Aims to Remedy Supply Chain Issues and Driver Shortages in the Commonwealth
The Virginia Ready Initiative (VA Ready), a 501(c)(3) public-private partnership dedicated to reskilling Virginians and helping them qualify for in-demand positions, announced a partnership with the Virginia Trucking Association (VTA), a non-profit association that provides full-time service and representation for the trucking industry, with the objective of getting more Virginia residents trained and employed as professional truck drivers.
The program, launching in January, will pair Virginia residents who complete the training necessary to receive their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) with various openings for drivers that VTA members have throughout the state.
“The VTA’s mission of making Virginia the best state in the nation in which to base and operate a trucking company is key to Virginia’s economic growth. VA Ready’s mission is to help Virginians gain skills and help employers find the skilled talent they need. We’re delighted to partner with VTA,” said Caren Merrick, CEO of VA Ready.
“This program is about getting good people into good-paying jobs,” said Dale Bennett, president and CEO of VTA. “There’s a gap between individuals who are looking for work and the need we have for drivers, and we are looking forward to working with VA Ready to bridge that gap.”
One primary goal of the VA Ready partnership with VTA is to staff 100 new drivers within the first 100 days of 2022. “Through VA Ready more than 700 Virginians are working toward or have completed their CDL and they are ready to work. These men and women are from all ages, ethnicities, and educational backgrounds,” said Taylor Beck, Manager of Partnerships for the Virginia Ready Initiative. “This new partnership is vital for Virginia residents and for the Virginia economy. We’re confident we can place our Scholars into jobs with VTA members, and support the hiring needs of the trucking industry.”
The nation is seeing a historic shortage of qualified truck drivers. The American Trucking Associations estimate there are approximately 80,000 fewer drivers available than freight needs demand, with that deficit projected to grow over the next decade.
This shortage has led to a significant increase in the average pay for truck drivers. While the average truck driver’s salary in 2020 was $47,130, some drivers are now earning wages close to six figures annually due to the tight market. Hiring managers are hopeful that this rise in compensation, along with other benefits, will make truck driving a more attractive job prospect.
“Trucking may be new to a lot of people,” said Ward Best, Chairman of the VTA, “But we want to show our communities that [truck driving] not only provides an essential service that benefits everyone, but can also be a lucrative and rewarding career move.”