California high school program aims to help nation's growing truck driver shortage

Patterson High School in California is introducing students to the possibility of a career in truck driving, an industry facing worker shortages impacting the nation's supply chain. David Dein, a CDL instructor at the high school, warned the driver shortage will continue to be a problem.

Dein said on "America’s Newsroom" that the truck driving industry is lacking roughly 63,000 drivers and that 25% of current drivers have reached or are nearing the age of retirement. He anticipates the industry will feel the full effect from those retiring within five years.

"There is a huge demand, and a part of our goal here is just not to fill seats," he said. "We want to make sure that we create a pipeline of young, well-trained talent for the future."

The ongoing labor shortage has resulted in massive cargo delays and has disrupted the supply chain, threatening a crisis going into the holiday season.

Labor Secretary Elaine Chao said the shortage could become a "new normal," blaming the Biden administration’s government assistance programs like debt forgiveness and rent relief for the decline in labor force participation.

Bob Nardelli, former CEO of Home Depot and Chrysler, warned the problem could become a national emergency and may require involvement from the U.S. military.

Dien, however, is working on a small-scale and long-term solution to get young Americans directly into the industry.

Isael Medina, a recent graduate of the Patterson High School CDL program, told Fox News’ Bill Hemmer that Dien’s class inspired him to pursue a career in truck driving.

"What motivates me is how Dien told me there's a shortage of truckers, and I really enjoy this career path," Medina said. "So it's not mostly about the money, it's mostly just about helping out my community."

Dien said the average age of people entering the truck driving industry is 38 years old, which he said means people generally choose truck driving as a second or third career choice.

"We really want people like Isael to enter into this industry as a first career choice -- who really care about the industry, who have a passion for it."

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