TBR launches Trucking Tennessee, a statewide initiative to educate and prepare Tennesseans for in-demand careers in the trucking industry
[Female truck driver]
NASHVILLE (August 8, 2023) – TBR – The College System of Tennessee has announced Trucking Tennessee, a statewide marketing initiative aimed at educating Tennesseans about the critical need for more Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders in the state. The initiative stems from a statewide plan to expand CDL training and make it more accessible to all residents through 14 of the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCATs).
“This year, with the partnership of the General Assembly, we are proud to launch the Trucking Tennessee campaign to strengthen our trucking workforce and continue to support this important industry,” stated Governor Lee. “TCATs across our state are now making it easier than ever for drivers to become certified through programs like Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect, drivers can be certified at little or no cost in as little as six weeks.”
In addition, qualifying veterans may use their benefits at any of the 14 participating TCATs across the state to launch a new career in trucking. The Wilder-Naifeh Technical Skills Grant is also available and offers up to $2,000 per year in aid to eligible students - allowing most students to graduate from this program debt-free.
Marketing efforts for the initiative center around Tennessee’s technical colleges, which provide easy access to starting a career in the trucking industry. The new Trucking Tennessee website provides users with information on salary potential, career benefits and direct access to nearby TCATs offering truck driving programs. Those interested in learning more can submit an interest form online and start the application process within a matter of minutes. Most students complete the program and are ready to take the CDL exam in only six to eight weeks.
The College System introduced the initiative this spring at the 2023 SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference held in Chattanooga in April and more recently at the 2023 Institute for CTE Educators held in Chattanooga in July. College System representatives provided information on scholarship and tuition-free opportunities, the application process, and program details. Prospective students were also able to submit an online inquiry form onsite so that nearby TCATs can contact them with next steps to a rewarding career in truck driving. Promotional items touting the new Trucking Tennessee logo were given away including t-shirts, tumblers, lanyards, carabiners, and stickers.
With the demand for CDL positions in Tennessee expected to increase nearly 20 percent between now and 2030, additional drivers are needed to transport goods across the state, as well as local delivery drivers, bus drivers and other jobs requiring a CDL. According to the American Trucking Association, the trucking industry faces a shortage of 78,000 drivers at current vacancies, its second-largest number on record.
Tennessee’s Colleges of Applied Technology (TCAT) are responding to this urgent need by adding and expanding truck driving programs, renovating current classrooms and labs, and equipping their campuses with high-tech training vehicles. Currently, 14 TCATs offer truck driving programs which prepare students for both skills portions of the CDL examination. The College System plans to add additional programs at other TCATs in the coming year. More information can be found at www.truckingtn.com.
The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 24 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.