legislation testimony

TAM Testimony – In Support, Training Tomorrow’s Trucking Workforce

The following testimony was sent to the Massachusetts House Committee on Ways and Means and Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies chairs. Our testimony supports Amendment 41, Relative to Training Tomorrow’s Trucking Workforce.

The Commonwealth must strengthen its pipeline to develop a new workforce for the trucking industry. TAM supports Massachusetts Amendment 41, Relative to Training Tomorrow’s Trucking Workforce.

The testimony supporting Amendment 41 is provided below but is also available as a PDF download.


Dear Chair Michlewitz and Chair Parisella:

On behalf of the Trucking Association of Massachusetts (TAM), I am writing in strong support for adopting Amendment #41, Relative to Training Tomorrow’s Trucking Workforce, to House Bill 4789, the House economic development legislation. With the trucking industry experiencing one of its greatest workforce challenges in recent years, it is essential that the Commonwealth strengthen its pipeline for developing a new workforce for this vital industry.

Complementary to the House economic development bill’s strong focus on workforce, Amendment #41 seeks to bring a new generation of qualified workers into the trucking profession by directing the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education to create a grant program, subject to appropriation, that would support training and education programs that address the workforce shortages in the commercial trucking industry. The applicable areas of the trucking workforce targeted would include truck drivers, mechanics, technicians, and ancillary support personnel. The grant program would be used to train students, create new jobs, retrain and upgrade existing jobs, and retrain existing workers to implement new technologies and to help meet the workforce needs of the trucking industry within the Commonwealth.

Amendment #41 is an important initiative for growing the trucking industry in Massachusetts. The creation of this program will allow for the training of students and transitioning career professionals — creating new jobs while improving the retainage and upgrading of existing jobs to help meet the growing workforce needs of the trucking industry. As reported by the American Trucking Associations (ATA), “there is no single cause of the driver shortage, but some of the primary factors include: high average age of current drivers, which leads to a high number of retirements; women making up only 7% of all drivers, well below their representation in the total workforce; the pandemic caused some drivers to leave the industry, [and] truck driver training schools trained far fewer drivers than normal in 2020. At current trends, the shortage could surpass 160,000 in 2030. This forecast is based on driver demographic trends, including gender and age, as well as expected freight growth. )See the report from the American Trucking Associations, Truck Driver Shortage Analysis Update 2021.)

Truck drivers and other trucking personnel play a crucial role in the current economy. 93% of all goods transported into and within the Commonwealth have been on a truck. Every item on the shelves of Massachusetts retailers are filled with products transported by the trucking industry. With interest in the profession dwindling, there is a clear need to encourage this career path. The revitalization of the profession is important for more than just the trucking companies, but the Commonwealth as a whole. This initiative will create a mechanism for a wide variety of organizations and employers to train and hire trucking professionals to fill the Commonwealth’s workforce shortage.

I appreciate your consideration of this important matter and respectfully request that you adopt Amendment #41 as part of House Bill 4789. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Sincerely,

Kevin Weeks
Executive Director
Trucking Association of Massachusetts