In an effort to increase earning opportunities and enjoy sustainable careers, the Women in Trucking (WIT) non-profit organization announced a mentorship program. The pilot program is a joint venture between WIT and the LeadHERalliance Mentoring that provides actionable support for women of all walks of life. The partnership is called LeadHERtrucking and will deliver structured mentoring for women entering the truck driving profession.
“Part of the mission of WIT is to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry and minimize obstacles they face,” WIT vice president Debbie Sparks reportedly said. “We believe the connections and mentoring created through this support system will make a significant difference in the lives of entry-level drivers. Our goal is to decrease the percentage of drivers who leave our industry within their first 12 months. This program will give the new female driver much-needed support as they navigate this complex industry.”
While it’s true that women entering the truck driving industry are not necessarily required to undergo a mentorship, there are wide-reaching benefits. Newly-minted CDL-holders too often enter trucking careers with ideas about work and life that may not match reality. These are reasons why women may benefit from the LeadHERtrucking mentorship program.
1: How Mentorship Can Improve Truck Driving Career Success?
One of the reasons the trucking industry needs new workers every year is due to departures. Reports indicate that approximately 35 percent of tractor-trailer operators quit within the first 90 days. Sometimes called “early leaving,” this phenomenon persists year-over-year, and working with an experienced CDL professional in a mentoring program can better prepare people for the occupation and its challenges.
2: What Does The Mentorship Cover?
The 10-month mentorship is typically conducted virtually, and a list of pertinent issues will be discussed. The topics mentor and mentee cover are often not emphasized in truck driver training schools. They include leadership, financial independence, as well as mental health and well-being, among others. Unlike other occupations, long-haul and regional route truckers spend a great deal of time away from friends and family members. Few are prepared to transition away from jobs that interact with people all day to working alone. Transitioning presents challenges for women and men alike. The more prepared women are for unique issues the more likely they are to prosper.
3: How Many Women Work As Truck Drivers?
It’s essential to understand that the trucking industry has historically been a male-dominated field. Women trailblazers have earned reputations for reliability and approximately 10 percent of professional drivers are now women. Entering into the mostly male world of truck driving can be something of a culture shock and early mentorships can help first-year drivers adapt.
“Providing a female mentor to be a role model and a support for new female drivers will boost their resilience, confidence, and courage to break into and succeed in a role that hasn’t always been welcoming to women,” LeadHERalliance Mentoring founder Cynthia O’Neill reportedly said.
One caveat worth noting is that women earn equal pay and benefits as truck drivers. That cannot always be said of other industries.