Leilani and Cheyenne are not your typical high school students. What sets them apart is that they both share a passion for trucking and see the vast opportunities that industry offers. Enrolled as a junior and senior at Patterson High School in Patterson, California the girls are currently involved in the school’s high school trucking program. The passion for trucking that lies within these young women is definitely not the norm — as reflected in the current representation of women who are commercial truck drivers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 6 percent of the commercial truck driver workforce is made up of females, only growing 1.1 percent in the last 10 years.
Having launched the high school trucking program last year, the school has proactively addressed the on-going driver shortage. Dave Dein, the CDL coordinator and instructor, is ecstatic to have Leilani, his first female truck driving student, enroll in the class.
“It takes great courage and grit to choose to be the first at anything, and I have utmost respect for Lelani to pursue a career in this male dominated industry and I will do everything I can to support her,” Dein says.
Dein sees the need to not only promote the vast opportunities to women, but he also understands the importance of providing support for those who choose to enter into this industry.
“It is apparent that if we expect to see any significant change in the number of women entering into this industry then there has to be a consistent and an intentional course of action for them to have positive female role models in which they can connect with,” he says.
After having Leilani enroll this year, the first thing Mr. Dein did was to find out what resources are currently available to help support females in the trucking industry. Women in Trucking quickly stood out as a premier organization that is dedicated to providing support, resources and networking opportunities. By attending the Women in Trucking “Accelerate!” conference, the girls will be able to experience the industry first hand and have the opportunity to meet women who have generated their own success in the trucking industry while attending seminars that are designed to empower women to take on challenges that they will face.
“My personal goal is for both these young women to find success in the industry where they can come back and be the necessary and needed role models that will inspire a whole new generation of females to carve out their own road in this exciting industry,” Dein says.
For more information about the Patterson High School trucking program, please click here.