Read the a release below from the Professional Truck Driver’s Institute, issued on September 22, 2014. Gina Buda, President of Progressive Truck Driving School, is one of the featured contributors for this release from PTDI. Progressive Truck School is being re-certified for it’s PTDI-certified program.
Alexandria, Virginia — With the recent passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), PTDI checked in with programs across the U.S. and Canada that received PTDI course recertification in August about how funding initiatives might help address the increasing driver shortage.
“Any kind of funding to help more potential drivers attend school is critical for the industry,” said Paul Bulick, executive director of All-State Career School. “The driver shortage is huge and going to get bigger, to the point where I don’t know how they’re going to fill the need.”
Although WIOA, which provides new funding to train workers for jobs in transportation and other industries, will not affect Bulick’s program since it’s already eligible for federal funding, he noted, “without a doubt, it will help the industry and non-accredited schools.”
Industry leaders expect WIOA will offer increased funding for entry-level driver training—a definite need in the industry, as many students in truck driver-training programs rely on loans and grants for their education.
“Even though they are guaranteed to have employment right after graduation, young people in general don’t have the money to get through the program, so obviously this is a tremendous benefit for them,” said Gina Buda, president of Progressive Truck Driving School, whose schools at three locations in Illinois received PTDI course recertification. “Available funding is always crucial because our students are either in transition or unemployed, and there’s such a great opportunity for employment now. I’ve never seen such a shortage of drivers, and I’ve been in the industry 40 years,” Buda said. Even with the federal funding available, “we still don’t see as many young people as we would like to,” she added. “The public needs to be more aware of the funding available and that there are jobs actually waiting for these young new drivers. Every student who comes through our school gets prehired and will have a job waiting.”
Roxanne Wilkieson, manager, Kim Richardson Transportation Specialist Inc. in Ontario, Canada expressed similar concerns about funding for younger drivers. “We have funding options available for our older clients through TIOW – Targeted Initiative for Older Workers and Second Career, which is an Ontario government program that will pay your tuition. The Ontario government is helping laid-off workers get back to work. We also have funding for programs, services, and initiatives for our First Nations clients. Where we lack funding is for our younger clients 18–30. There really is nothing in place for them other than borrowing money from family members or having to take out loans.”
Despite the funding available, Bulick said, “road transportation is still a secret as to the opportunities, the money you can make. The industry’s reputation has been tarnished, and to attract more drivers, we need to work on our image. This is where adopting PTDI standards at the federal level can make a difference.”
The programs that recently received PTDI course recertification are A. Duie Pyle Truck Driving Academy, West Chester, Penn.; All-State Career School, West Mifflin, Penn.; Kim Richardson Transportation Specialists Inc., Caledonia, Ontario; Ontario Truck Training Academy, at two locations in Oshawa and Peterborough, Ontario; and Progressive Truck Driving School, Inc., at three locations in Chicago, Cicero, and Lansing, Ill.
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PTDI is a national, nonprofit organization established for the twofold purpose of developing uniform industry skill, curriculum, and certification standards for entry-level truck driver training and motor carrier driver finishing programs, and certifying entry-level truck driver training courses at public and private schools and driver finishing programs at carriers for compliance with PTDI standards. PTDI is based in Alexandria, Virginia.
Contact Progressive Truck Driving School at 773.736.5522 to discuss our PTDI-certified training program.