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Villapudua Acting to Strengthen California’s Supply Chain and Trucking Workforce

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua (D-Stockton) introduced AB 376 today to expand financial aid for Californians pursuing a career in trucking.

“Our supply chain cannot survive without the steady flow of a strong trucking workforce,” said Assemblymember Villapudua. “California needs to provide the proper support to ensure the next generation of drivers is ready to take over. Expanding the Cal Grant C to cover more driver training programs would pave a new path of opportunity for individuals to pursue economic mobility while reinforcing an industry that keeps our economy trucking.”

A shortage of drivers has consistently ranked as the top issue for the trucking industry, despite raising wages by 18 percent from 2019 to 2021. According to the American Trucking Association, the industry was short roughly 78,000 drivers in 2022 and must hire nearly 1.2 million drivers over the next decade to meet increased demands and replace an aging workforce.

The trucking workforce is one of the most rapidly aging workforces in the nation. The median driver age is 46 years old – four years older than the median age of the overall workforce. The average cost of a driver training program is $2,561, creating a significant barrier to low and middle income Californians to help fill the void left by retirees. Compounding this financial problem is that many training programs do not take the four months that is required for eligibility for the Cal Grant C.

“To support California’s critical supply chain, the State must train a new generation of truckers to replace a rapidly aging workforce,” said Chris Shimoda, California Trucking Association’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs. “AB 376 will provide vital assistance to low and middle income Californians seeking Commercial Drivers Licenses by increasing eligibility for the Cal Grant C program. This will provide vital supply chain workers access to a profitable career in trucking in a more expeditious and affordable manner.”

AB 376 will extend Cal Grant C eligibility to students enrolled in entry-level driver training programs of less than four months.