According to the American Trucking Association, the Less Than Truckload (LTL) turnover rate jumped from 10 percent to 14 percent last year, hitting its highest point since 2013. The shortage is impacting commerce as some companies have reportedly been forced to turn away orders due to a lack of drivers.

While the effects of deregulation are largely to blame for the decline in drivers, as fewer workers are attracted to the harsh demands of the job, the shortage has led to all kinds of proposed solutions including the use of new technology to fill the gap in the labor supply.

But there is another remedy, and it draws from centuries-old practices in the skilled trades: the apprenticeship. Today, Teamsters are paving a new road for countless workers who want to build careers in the transportation industry.

Teamsters have developed a number of apprenticeship programs at locals and Joint Councils, especially in the construction industry, but the new Teamsters Apprenticeship Program is the first national effort by the union that is focused on the transportation industry.

“This program is designed to promote the craft and train people to build strong middle-class careers in the transportation industry,” said Lamont Byrd, Director of the Teamsters Safety and Health Department. “It’s also about getting more members, and young members in particular, to be more engaged in the union as they enter the workforce. The driver shortage is a real problem in the industry and we believe this program offers a unique solution.”