WEAU News: Bill would encourage women to enter the trucking industry

by Carla Rogner

A bill working its way through Washington hopes to address a shortage of truck drivers across the country by encouraging more women to enter the field.

In February, The Promoting Women in Trucking Workforce Act was reintroduced by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Jon Tester (D-MT). On Wednesday, the bipartisan legislation moved one step closer towards becoming law after it was passed by the Senate Commerce Committee.

“The Women in Trucking Act convenes a group to identify obstacles and barriers to women getting in to the trucking profession in all aspects of it and also allows us to takes steps to recruit and mentor and train women to join that workforce,” said Baldwin. “In Wisconsin we make things and it is so important that we have ways to get our product to market.”

The proposed bill states women make up 47% of the nation’s workforce but only 6.6% of all truck drivers.

Tom Daniels has taught truck driving at Chippewa Valley Technical College for the last four years and says he has seen few women get behind the wheel though anyone with the right skill set can make a good driver, like the ability to multitask.

“It takes a lot of thinking, a lot of strategy to drive a truck,” he said. “If you can stay attentive, if you can navigate through cities it makes it a lot easier.”

Daniels says there are many options for entering the field to support different lifestyles. He encourages people looking for a new career to consider truck driving, especially with the high demand for workers.

“There are a lot of different aspects as far as trucking goes. It is not just driving cross country over the roads. There are a lot of local jobs that people can do nowadays that are tailored to let you still be home with your family at night.”