Initiatives Seek to Address Supply Chain Issues in 2022
21 Jan 2022
Supply chain disruptions were an overwhelming theme in 2021, impacting the entire country from global business conglomerates to small-town consumers. Automobile production has been limited by an inadequate supply of semiconductor chips, while local communities have faced grocery and construction material shortages for months now. Efforts to address supply chain issues will dominate the business landscape in 2022.
One national effort expected to significantly combat these supply chain issues will be the Trucking Action Plan, a joint program of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Launched late last year, the Plan is part of the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, designed to address supply chain bottlenecks created as the economy recovered after the pandemic slowdown. In early January, the DOL and DOT announced several new initiatives to support drivers, improve driver retention and expand access to quality jobs.
Expedite the issuance of CDLs by reducing barriers
The DOT and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are working to support state departments of motor vehicles by working hand-in-hand with them to address the challenges they are facing. FMCSA will provide over $32 million in funding to help states expedite commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs). They will also send every state a toolkit detailing specific actions to take to expedite the process like expanding hours and locations as well as moving processes online.
In an effort to put more well-trained drivers on the roads, the DOL/DOT 90-day Trucking Apprenticeship Challenge was kicked-off to recruit employers interested in developing new Registered Apprenticeship programs and to support those interested in expanding existing programs. Registered Apprenticeship programs are the gold standard of driver training because they provide paid, on-the-job learning. Expanding this proven workforce strategy in the trucking industry will ensure high-quality instruction for new drivers and will help employers develop and train a skilled workforce.
There are currently more than 10,000 apprentices in the trucking industry. The DOL and national partners such as FASTPORT are committed to helping accelerate new program development in as little as two days. FASTPORT is a DOL-funded national apprenticeship intermediary partner that focuses on the transportation sector and is committed to working with trucking employers, unions, and industry associations to achieve program creation goals. DOL is investing $8 million in more national apprenticeship intermediaries who can help employers start Registered Apprenticeships.
DOL’s Office of Apprenticeship’s (OA) has consultants located across the country who will assist organizations interested in starting a new program or joining an existing program. In addition, the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program has been launched, an under-21 pilot program for truck drivers.
Increase the number of women in trucking
The Women of Trucking Advisory Board has been created to review challenges facing women interested in joining the profession. Topics of focus will include on-the-job safety risks, mentorship, quality training, and opportunities for advancement.
Facilitate truck leasing opportunities
The Truck Leasing Task Force will review inequitable leasing arrangements to identify how to make these practices more equitable and transparent. Current practices, such as predatory truck leasing arrangements, result in unmanageable debt for incoming drivers.
Studies on truck driver pay and unpaid detention time
FMCSA will begin studies on driver detention time and driver compensation and the impacts of current practices on safety and driver retention.
Conduct veterans-focused outreach and recruitment
Because there are approximately 70,000 veterans who are likely to have certified trucking experience in the last five years, the DOL Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will step up efforts and partnerships to help transition service members and veterans to good jobs in the trucking industry.
Use of the Off-Base Transition Training Pilot Program (OBTT) will be explored to extend employment readiness curriculum to connect veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, and their spouses to a career path in trucking. DOL and VA will work to ensure veterans’ driving experience is recognized for those seeking a CDL and will build on proven models, such as SkillBridge programs. Partnerships between the Employment Navigator and Partnership Pilot (ENPP) and the trucking industry will be expanded.
Assistance is available
Staff at the Red Wing Port Authority are available today to help you understand how your business can prepare for the benefits of the Trucking Action Plan and other programs coming in 2022!