The Logbook is a weekly rundown of human-interest stories related to the transportation industry. This week: Workforce Heroes teach students about trucking careers, ‘Grow at XPO’ launches 100th location and WIT teams up with CarriersEdge for Diversity and Inclusion Index.

ATA Workforce Heroes tours Iowa high schools

Workforce Heroes, an American Trucking Associations (ATA) program focused on recruiting and training future trucking professionals, finished it’s tour of high schools within Northwest Iowa this week. 

The program, sponsored by Mack Trucks and Utility Trailers with support from Omnitracs and TA-Petro, visited seven high schools to teach students how to safely drive around trucks on the highway along with the career paths in the trucking industry.

Using a Class 8 Mack Anthem High Rise Sleeper donated to Workforce Heroes, students were taught about stopping distances in all types of weather and blind spots drivers encounter.

Professional truck driving instructors, who have accumulated millions of accident-free miles, explained why these lessons are important.

“The goal of our demonstration is to educate current and future drivers on how to safely drive alongside trucks,” Randall Luschen of Weinrich Truck Line, Inc. said in a press release. “At the end of the day, we want everyone to get home safe.”  

The tour covered career specifics for oversized hauling, relay driving and heavy-duty technicians. Students were given information detailing salaries and CDL requirements.

“More and more of our professional drivers are heading into retirement, which is why we are here to explain the career opportunities in the trucking industry,” said Workforce Heroes driver Bill McNamee of Carbon Express, Inc. 

“A career as a professional truck driver is extremely rewarding as it allows you to travel all over the country and meet so many different people. We need the younger generation to join our industry so that we can keep moving America forward.”

‘Grow at XPO’ program launches in 100th location 

Earlier this month, XPO Logistics’ (NYSE:XPO) Monroe Township, New Jersey site became the 100th company location to offer its employees the “Grow at XPO” program. Twenty employees have begun working on career plans.

Launched in August 2020, the “Grow at XPO” program helps frontline employees learn what it takes to advance in roles with more responsibility and higher pay. It specifically focuses on employees from underrepresented communities who may lack access to technology skills. 

Once an employee has satisfactorily completed a new-hire probationary period with a positive performance record, they are eligible to enroll in the Grow program.

Edward Gordon, a manager of supply chain site operations at the New Jersey location, completed a four-month Site Operations Manager Academy.

“Grow at XPO is something this crew has been waiting for,” Gordon said in a press release. “They are really eager to get running with this. I think it goes a long way to show that XPO is willing to help hourly employees and supervisors grow.”

The program has generated a lot of notice within the companies employees, as it uses onsite Human Resource generalists, known as “Grow Champs” to identify high-potential individuals who might not come forward. 

The Grow Champ at the new site, Yadhi Arroyo, explained the process of identifying the growth potential of a XPO janitor who was looking to grow her career at the company.

“She told me, ‘I love my job, I don’t want to change it – but I also want to learn something different’,” said Arroyo. “‘I want to be useful to the site should they need my support in any projects.’ That was very interesting. From our HR perspective, we always have a goal of investing in our people.”

The program also encourages cross-training to learn skills for roles outside their current location. 

“XPO has openings across the United States. When you participate in the program, it gives you opportunities to go to other sites,” said Arroyo. “There were some questions about relocation, and they were surprised to hear about the opportunities.”

WIT Partners with CarriersEdge to create Diversity and Inclusion Index

The Women in Trucking Association (WIT) has teamed up with CarriersEdge, a provider for online training for trucking companies, to create a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Index to evaluate diversity efforts of North American trucking companies. 

The index will evaluate interviews, surveys and programs among participating fleets to identify best practices and trends for recruiting underrepresented groups.

In an interview with FreightWaves, Debbie Sparks, vice president of WIT, explained the importance of creating this index for the industry.

“It is important that we set a standard for the future of minorities within the transportation industry,” she said. “A very simple way of doing that is celebrating the way carriers are currently setting these standards within their companies so that others can learn and embrace those same standards.”

She also expressed the importance of teaming up with CarriersEdge for this initiative.

“When I first reached out to them and shared the idea they didn’t even hesitate,” Sparks explained. “I have worked with them in the past and their work ethic, insight and vision of this project made it a no-brainer.”

Until July 31, any for-hire or private fleet operating at least 10 trucks within the U.S. or Canada may apply to be a part of the benchmarking initiative. Applicants will get a questionnaire on their recruiting efforts. An interview with company management and a survey of the company’s employees follows..

Those found to have outstanding diversity achievements will be celebrated in November at the WIT’s Accelerate! Conference in Dallas.

Click here for more articles by Grace Sharkey

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