How Virginia is trying to get more truckers on the road

Empty grocery shelves are caused by many factors, including a lack of truck drivers to transport fresh produce and other items. But a program in Virginia is trying to get more truck drivers on the road.

The Virginia Ready Initiative and the Virginia Trucking Association want to get 100 new drivers in the first 100 days of 2022.

They’ve launched a program that will pair Virginians who get their commercial driver’s licenses with driving jobs at trucking companies in 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,” said Caren Merrick, CEO of the Virginia Ready Initiative, in a statement.

“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.”

Merrick is Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s choice for secretary of commerce.

According to the American Trucking Association, there’s a shortage of about 80,000 drivers in the U.S., and that is driving an increase in driver pay.

The average truck driver’s salary in 2020 was $47,130. Now, depending on the routes and experience, some drivers can earn close to six figures.

“Trucking may be new to a lot of people,” said Ward Best, chairman of the VTA, in a release. “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.”

The Virginia Ready Initiative is giving students $1,000 if they complete a truck driver training program at a Virginia community college and pass a CDL test.

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Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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