The Next Generation in Trucking Foundation, which supports the Next Generation in Trucking Association (NGT), received a $127,760 grant from Knorr-Bremse Global Care North America to develop a standardized truck driving curriculum that the association will make available at no cost to high schools starting truck driver training programs.
The grant will be used to support NGT in collaboration with the Education Development Center (EDC), an international education nonprofit based in Waltham, Massachusetts, in the creation of a national one-year online modular high school curriculum for a commercial learner’s permit and entry-level driver training (ELDT) standards program. Tested and developed in the field, this program will integrate materials developed by David Dein, co-founder and vice president of NGT, to support standards and career pathways within the national transportation, distribution, and logistics industry sector.
“Developing this coursework is an on-ramp to establishing and delivering a skilled, diverse, and equitable workforce that meets the 21st century needs of the industry,” said Lindsey Trent, co-founder and president of NGT. “We’re grateful for the support of community-focused organizations like KBGCNA and industry leaders like Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC (Bendix), which will open up incredible opportunities for students, beginning in particular with those in schools serving economically disadvantaged communities.”
The experiential and inquiry-based modules will be available in an online course format designed for teachers to use in face-to-face, blended, and virtual environments. The curriculum, which will prepare high school students across the nation to successfully take the official test and obtain their permit once they turn eighteen, is scheduled to be available in September 2023.
“Trucking is an essential and dynamic industry, and Knorr-Bremse Global Care North America and Bendix enthusiastically support efforts that encourage young people to explore its potential and become a part of it,” said Maria Gutierrez, president of KBGCNA and senior director of environmental, social and governance at Bendix. “KBGCNA centers its investments on initiatives supporting youth, education, and underprivileged populations. We embrace the Next Generation in Trucking Association’s aim to reach high schools in areas where many students and families may be struggling economically.”
Currently, there is no standardized high school curriculum for this content, so this program will help meet the need for career pathways into vital areas of transportation and logistics, greatly helping the trucking industry at large. When students complete the program, NGT will work with companies and drivers to help get them employed in the many intrastate jobs out there until they are old enough to qualify for interstate driving, or help get them employed with a carrier in the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program. NGT is also helping companies create pathways that lead to interstate driving careers for 18-, 19-, and 20-year-old individuals.
“Our industry is facing an unprecedented shortage of almost 80,000 drivers,” said Trent. “Considering the fact that 71.4% of all freight travels by truck in the United States, the average age of a new entrant truck driver is 35 and the average age of a truck driver is 54 years old, we need to step up and take action. That’s why NGT was created, to tap into the growing number of young people who do not want to go to college and who are seeking alternatives that can provide good careers with stable incomes.”
KBGCNA is the U.S.-based arm of a philanthropic entity operated by Munich, Germany-based Knorr-Bremse, a global market leader for braking systems and a leading supplier of other safety-critical rail and commercial vehicle systems. Avon, Ohio-based Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC is one of Knorr-Bremse’s three largest North American companies who support the organization. Bendix is the North American leader in the design, development, and manufacture of active safety, air management, and braking solutions for commercial vehicles. It will play a key role in the facilitation of the grant under the guidance of two Bendix directors who will serve as project co-champions.
“Education that results in gainful employment is our goal – to improve the lives of youth in need and to give them a chance to live an independent life. Trucking can be a lifeline of many sorts, and programs like this one have the ability to be life-changing for generations to come,” said Gutierrez.