BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — With more than 50 percent of America’s freight transport moving by trucks, the recent truck driver shortage is a growing concern. In an effort to ease the shortage, the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) is offering an incentive.

“We’re back to our core mission which is putting people to work. We know that we have a national shortage with truck drivers, with CDL operators, so this is Louisiana’s first round of trying to fill that shortage,” said Secretary Ava Cates.

With the added supply chain crisis the country is facing now, the “Drive Your Future” program will offer free truck driver training to those who qualify. Cates said filling these positions is critical for Louisiana’s economy. 

“Nationally, we’re projected by 2030 to need over a million truckers with those retiring, we know that we’re going to need truckers for a long time,” said Cates.

For a short five weeks of training, those who complete the program can expect to make a starting wage of $40-60K. While the program focuses on veterans and the underemployed, Cates said it also targets women, in hopes of closing the wage gap. 

“There is a career progression pathway in this, we also know that nationwide only 7% of CDL operators are women,” said Cates.

The free program is valued at over $5,000. Cates hopes this incentive will help bring in a new crop of drivers and keep goods flowing throughout the state. 

“This is an opportunity for someone to get that industry-based credential and begin their career anew and have a portable credential that goes with them for the rest of their life,” said Cates.

The first classes are expected to start in late February. To apply, click here.