Lindsey Trent is determined to see fresh faces in freight. As founder of The Next Generation in Trucking Association, her efforts have made trucking an attractive career choice for younger generations nationwide.
Trent discussed the industry’s recruiting challenges and how to best reach high school and college-age students with DriverReach founder and CEO Jeremy Reymer on this week’s episode of Taking the Hire Road.
The Next Generation in Trucking Association is a nonprofit trade group aiming to promote trucking as an attractive career field for the upcoming workforce by establishing accessible programs and employment opportunities.
Trucking has long enjoyed the skill and work ethic of its commercial drivers, mechanics and technicians, but those seasoned workers will eventually need to be replaced. As the workforce continues to age, a major talking point among industry leaders is how to direct more people to a career in trucking.
“We need to work together [as an industry] for the mission, which is to introduce young people to this great career field,” Trent said. “Does everybody have to go to college? No. You can get a great job and support a family by being a CDL driver, or a diesel technician; you can stay in that career your entire life and make a good living, or you can work your way up to become an HR manager or a safety professional.”
Trent makes the case that the best place to start recruiting is exactly where young people gather almost every day — high schools. She argues that more effort should be put into programs that encourage transportation career paths. “There’s over $1.1 billion of federal funding every year that goes to technical education; the trucking industry is missing this,” Trent said, adding that construction and woodworking programs are easily accessible to students nationwide, so why not trucking?
“We are competing against welding, construction and woodworking, but interestingly enough, a lot of those industries need CDL drivers,” Trent added. “We have to talk with states, local communities and school districts to educate them about the needs of trucking, and then convince them to create and insert trucking programs in their schools.”
Another way to reach younger people is through advertising. Trent strongly encourages motor carriers to revamp their brand images on YouTube and social media platforms such as TikTok.
“We’re a diverse and inclusive workforce,” Trent said. “We need to show that to young people, asking, ‘Have you ever thought about being a truck driver or being a diesel technician? Here’s an interview of one in their 20s; this is what they look like, and they look like you.”
Trent celebrates the grassroots efforts of her organization but admits it’ll only achieve its goals through continued support from throughout the trucking industry.
“We’re all about wanting to support schools, educators and students to create a pipeline of young talent for the industry,” Trent said. “Our hope is that the industry reaches out to us and wants to join our association.”
More from Taking the Hire Road: