RICHMOND, Va. — Supply chain shortages are once again impacting store shelves nationwide, but a new partnership in Virginia is working to help ease some restraints.
Right now, there’s a shortage of about 80,000 truck drivers across the U.S., and that number is expected to grow. That's why Virginia Ready Initiative (VA Ready) and the Virginia Trucking Association are teaming up to send hundreds of qualified drivers to companies who need them.
The new partnership just launched this month, and it will pair Virginia residents who complete the training necessary to receive their commercial driver's license (CDL) with various openings for drivers that Virginia Trucking Association members have throughout the state.
The organizations have set a goal of staffing 100 new drivers within the first 100 days of 2022.
"What's even more exciting is we have a continuous pipeline," said Taylor Beck, partnerships manager for VA Ready. "So it's not just let's get 100 drivers in, and we're done. We have more work to do, and there's a very steady pipeline to do just that."
Right now, through VA Ready, close to 800 Virginians are working toward completing or have completed their CDL.
"This is open to all Virginians, both young, old, male, female, black, white, minority, it does not matter," said Ward Best, chairman of the Virginia Trucking Association. "This is an open industry for folks who have the training and have the credentials."
Unlike in the past, Best said some truckers now have the ability to come home at night, and the average pay for these positions is rising, with some drivers now earning close to six figures a year.
"Many people don't want to come in and punch a clock," Best explained. "Many people want the ability to have that flexibility to other scheduling. It is also an opportunity where they can gain the skills and the knowledge and eventually own their own business by buying their own truck and expanding and growing from there."
For more information about the VA Ready Initiative and how to apply for the program, visit www.vaready.org.