U.S. Secretary Of Labor Makes Visit To PA, Highlights Trucking Apprenticeships

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CARLISLE, Pa. (Erie News Now) – Tuesday, United States Labor Secretary, Marty Walsh, cut the ribbon on the Yellow Corporation’s first truck driving apprenticeship program in Pennsylvania.  

Secretary Walsh was joined by Governor Tom Wolf and leaders from the Yellow Corporation at their facility about 15 miles southwest of Harrisburg.

“Drivers keep our economy going. Truck drivers in our country keep our economy going,” said Walsh.

Walsh says these programs are essential for industry safety and the nation’s supply chain.

“As you heard, these academies are producing some of the safest, most skilled drivers on the road today, and certainly you’re adding to strengthen our supply chain,” said Walsh.

Last December, the Biden Administration announced a 90-day “Trucking Apprentice Challenge,” a partnership with trucking associations nationwide to launch Registered Apprenticeships as a way toward getting more well-trained drivers on the road in good-paying jobs.

Walsh says apprentice programs are a critical component to address supply chain issues and the nationwide driver shortage.

“Apprenticeships work,” said Walsh. “Apprenticeships are for younger and older workers, apprenticeships give somebody a pathway into a career,” he added.

The administration is especially focused on creating pathways for veterans, minorities and anyone facing a barrier to success.

“For women, for people of color and anyone who faces barriers to opportunity, we need to create pathways in this industry to allow people to get into the industry that have an opportunity to get their family into the middle class,” said Walsh.

Walsh said being a driver is an extremely important profession and one to be proud of, adding that the last two years have illustrated just how vital the industry really is.

“Two years ago, right now, we were running to supermarkets, buying every bit of cleaning product we could possibly buy. You, the drivers in this room, and the drivers across this country are the people that helped stock those shelves,” said Walsh.

Yellow Corporation CEO, Darren Hawkins, says the programs are critical for the next generation of drivers.

“The next generation of professional truck drivers will be trained right here where you’re standing,” said Hawkins.

Governor Wolf says the program is a great opportunity as Pennsylvania prepares for new infrastructure projects.

“Especially given what we’re going to need with the Infrastructure Investment Act, the Jobs Act, that is creating a huge demand we haven’t had before,” said Gov. Wolf.

In 2016, the Wolf Administration established the Department of Labor and Industry’s Apprenticeship and Training Office (ATO) to support and expand registered apprenticeship programs statewide. The ATO currently supports more than 17,000 active apprentices, nearly 5,000 new apprentices and more than 1,500 active apprenticeship programs around the commonwealth.

The driving academy in Carlisle will offer apprentice drivers four weeks of classroom instruction and behind-the-wheel training with an experienced instructor.

The academy is tuition free and students are paid to earn their commercial drivers license (CDL).


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