At the April meeting of AICGS’ working group “Learn & Earn: A Young Leaders’ Group for the Development of the U.S. Workforce,” participants gathered to discuss current workforce trends in the transportation industry. Xinge Wang, Deputy Director at the Transportation Learning Center, and her colleague Jack Clark, Executive Director, presented their findings on job demand and skill data, and highlighted the implications this research has on workforce development.
In recent years, interest in transportation jobs has dropped. The main challenge is to attract more people to a career in transportation. Despite the fact that the transportation industry currently employs 4 million people, it faces demographic challenges as well as labor and skill shortages. Over half of the workforce in this sector is over 45—exceeding the national average by 9 percent. Additionally, women, African-Americans, and Hispanics are highly underrepresented.
Currently, it is estimated that the transportation sector will generate 4.6 million job openings in 10 years, especially in the operations field. Trucking, especially heavy tractor-trailer truck driving, will generate most of the job openings at 1.2 million, followed by school or special client bus drivers. The highest number of projected openings will be in highly urbanized areas like New York City, Dallas, Los Angeles, or Houston.
The reason why the transportation sector is unattractive to younger people is not primarily because of the wages; many high demand transportation jobs actually offer a salary above national median wages and other career paths. Still, transportation education programs produce far fewer eligible employees than the industry needs, and there is a 68 percent gap between transportation jobs and individuals who have completed an educational program in a selected transportation job group.
The main goal is to create and strengthen national standards to fill the skill gap and bring new people into the transportation sector. In addition to college credits for technical skills, there must also be the ability to learn on the job due to the high demand of constantly changing technical knowledge.
Information about the working group:
The American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS) at Johns Hopkins has been working on bringing together a number of different actors concerned with workforce development in the U.S. to encourage sharing of ideas, learning lessons from different countries, seeing what challenges lay ahead, and where further cooperation is needed to encourage public-private partnerships towards promoting specialized skills training opportunities.
“Learn & Earn” is a working group of young professionals from a variety of different sectors and backgrounds (energy, education, finance, industry, manufacturing, etc.) that gather monthly to discuss the role of workforce training in economic development around the world.
- June, 2014: Robert Dehm from the German Embassy’s Economic Department presented the German Embassy’s Skills Initiative.
- July: Zach Boren, Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeships, explained how they are trying to brand apprenticeships to an American audience.
- August: Max Grünig, Senior Fellow of Ecologic, led a discussion on the growth of green industry in Europe and the U.S. and how that has spurred growth of apprenticeship programs in that field.
- September: Katie Gage from Enstitute talked about her nonprofit organization and the challenges they run into in recruiting young applicants.
- October: Dr. Achim Dercks, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce, presented on the role of domestic institutions on developing sustainable apprenticeship programs, during our first field trip to the Representative of German Industry + Trade (RGIT).
- November: Kimberly Frank, Parke Nicholson, and Sarah Steinberg debriefed on their site visits to apprentice programs in Hungary, France, Germany, and the UK, and lessons learned for the U.S.
- December: Dana Hendrickson, Director of Outreach and Advocacy at the Maryland Department of Veteran Affairs, led a discussion on efforts in the U.S. and Maryland to re-integrate military veterans into the workforce.
- February: Jamell Thrower, Program Manager at the DC Department of Employment Services’ Office of Apprenticeship Information & Training, along with a current apprentice, described his unique DC jurisdiction.
- March: Dr. Lukas Graf, AICGS/DAAD Research Fellow presented on “New Pathways for Advanced Work-Based Education.”
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Made possible by the support of The German Marshall Fund of the United States