NEXT GENERATION IN TRUCKING PUSHES TO REACH EVEN MORE HIGH SCHOOLS WITH PROFESSIONALLY PRODUCED TRUCKING CURRICULUM, CDL TRAINING
Just a year into its founding, the Next Generation in Trucking Association has already engaged with more than 60 high schools and dozens of community colleges in the U.S. and Canada to begin the process of setting up programs to connect students and young adults with careers in trucking.
Founded and led by Lindsey Trent and Dave Dein, the Association’s mission is right there in the name: To engage with the next generation of professional truck drivers and technicians at the high school and community college level, to show them the value of careers in trucking, to highlight the importance the industry plays in our society and economy, and to establish programs within high schools and colleges to offer the opportunity to earn a CDL.
In addition to already laying the groundwork at dozens of high schools and community colleges, the group also already has plenty of success stories of teenagers earning a CDL and beginning careers as a professional drivers directly out of high school.
Now, the grassroots movement that has been Next Generation in Trucking in its first year is looking to take the next steps and build even more momentum for its mission.
The Next Generation in Trucking Foundation, the non-profit arm of the Association, has launched a campaign to raise $150,000 to create a professionally produced curriculum that the Association can install in high schools and community colleges. NGT is asking for industry support from motor carriers and individuals, both through membership and through donations, to help reach its goal.
“We’re trying to fix the root of one of the problems our industry faces, which is getting young people interested in trucking,” says Trent. “We are seeing a lot of success in doing that, but we need to have the industry behind us and supporting us through membership and sponsorship to be even more successful.”
The campaign to create a professionally produced curriculum will help propel NGT’s goal of establishing trucking programs at even more high schools and help Trent and NGT leaders more effectively lobby state legislators to enact laws to fund CDL and trucking programs at high schools and in college systems.
The National Transportation Institute is a member of Next Generation in Trucking and encourages motor carriers, private fleets, and individuals to join to support the Association’s mission. NTI President and CEO Leah Shaver is also on the NGT Board of Directors.
Trent, NGT’s president, led the Association’s founding after spending the prior 10 years of her professional life at Ryder and at Driving Ambition, a staffing firm that helps motor carriers find and hire drivers. She moved into running NGT full time at the beginning of this year. Dein is a high school teacher at Patterson High School in Patterson, California, and established a successful driver training program there — which became the blueprint for the program that NGT has worked to establish at other high schools.
The duo saw the dearth in representation of trucking as a career choice in high schools and at community colleges, and they spearheaded the launch of NGT to address that problem — and to establish trucking as a first-choice career path for young adults who otherwise may have never considered trucking as an option.
“We want to see trucking represented,” said Trent.
Also, she sees a natural fit between trucking and Generation Z, the generation currently in high school and entering young adulthood.
“They’re entrepreneurial. They want to work with technology. They also want to make a difference,” says Trent. “So we make it known to them that trucking offers all of those things. There’s a very direct career path to becoming an owner-operator and running a small business. Trucking is a very technologically forward industry. And we show them how important trucking is to our society, and that without trucks on the road, we would fall apart as a nation. So many things about trucking appeal to Gen Z. We just have to communicate that to them.”
To learn more about NGT, join as a member, or make a donation, visit the Association’s website.