Dec 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden rolls out plan to address trucking workforce challenges

Allison Zaucha/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Photo: Allison Zaucha/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Biden administration will announce an action plan Thursday to address enduring "workforce challenges" in the truck driving industry.

Why it matters: The pandemic worsened existing issues within the trucking industry, most notably in recruiting and retaining drivers. The action plan aims to double down on existing programs and "lay the foundation for a next generation trucking workforce."

  • The administration will invest over $30 million in funding to assist states in expediting commercial driver's licenses and increasing communication to reduce delays.
  • A 90-day challenge will also be launched in a "national effort" to create and expand apprenticeship programs to ramp up recruitment efforts in the transportation sector.

Between the lines: The U.S. supply chain has struggled against the backdrop of rising demand, outdated infrastructure and labor shortages, as the country begins to emerge from the economic damage incurred at the height of the pandemic.

  • In July, the number of items shipped domestically fell, citing a lack of equipment and drivers in rail and trucking.
  • The action plan for the trucking workforce is part of the Biden administration's Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, launched in June to "lead whole government effort" to address bottlenecks.

What they're saying: Our "economic recovery has two key components, getting America back to work and getting prices and supply chains back to normal," a senior administration official told reporters.

  • "Trucking is essential to our economy and truckers are essential workers," the official added. "We're going to take clear steps to attract people into good safe jobs in the industry to support recruitment goals."

Go deeper: Supply chain troubles aren't going anywhere

Go deeper