As the President and CEO of the American Trucking Association, Bill Graves, pointed out, “…we often talk about the impact of the shortage of truck drivers. But we mustn’t forget trucking’s need to have many skilled technicians and mechanics to keep their rigs in working order and their wheels moving.”
He’s right, the driver shortage is often reported and possibly even over-stated (if trucking companies treated drivers/employees better there would be less driver turnover but rather than affect positive change, companies can avoid a self-critical evaluation by blaming external factors such as driver shortage). Diesel technician shortages, however, are underreported and probably more critical. Not only is there already a shortage but with many (most?) technicians over the age of 50 we are losing technicians to retirement far faster than we are replacing them.
I think college is good; important even. But I also think it can be overrated. There is such pressure to send our kids to college where they can get good, white-collar jobs. Rather than pushing every kid towards college we need to let them know that the skilled labor force is viable, necessary, and respectable way to earn a living.
Having said all that, I want to offer a hardy thanks to all those men and women out there turning wrenches for a living. It’s not just the drivers who help America ship her goods and services.
Thanks for reading.