This week is National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. Our industry relies on professional truck drivers to deliver our delicious beverages to every corner of Ohio. And while we appreciate an official week to celebrate our drivers, our member companies work every day to recruit, train and retain CDL drivers. A nationwide driver shortage amid a pandemic underscores how essential drivers are to our supply chain whether your business is beverage or waste management. We all need more drivers.
To help solve Ohio’s driver shortage, we continue our work with Ohio Trucking Association and myriad others to find solutions to this critical need. All efforts make a difference from legislation to employer incentives. From making connections with community groups to working with Ohio Means Jobs, our member companies are talking about CDL driver shortages.
We are grateful the Ohio General Assembly included CDL student aid in the biennial state budget. This combination of student grants and loans will make CDL school more affordable and keep qualified drivers in Ohio post grad. And since COVID-19 shut down driver schools, Ohio trained 40% fewer drivers in 2020 so we have lots of ground to cover in an already challenging situation.
Additionally, OhioBev members have increased their community outreach. Talking with workforce development leaders like Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce helps great companies like Coke, Keurig Dr Pepper and Pepsi fill driver vacancies. Members have forged relationships with local nonprofits like Flying High, Inc. in Youngstown which connects employers to potential workers, including drivers.
And Ohio’s community colleges are building programs to help. Stark Community College has an outstanding CDL program, and many other colleges are asking businesses to help design curriculum so that their students are ready to work.
So, this week please join OhioBev in saying “thank you” to Ohio’s professional truck drivers. And remember that our supply chain depends on hardworking CDL drivers.