The Ohio House of Representatives passed a bill this week that aims to increase training opportunities for truck drivers as the state’s demand for them grows.
House Bill 222, introduced by Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus’s (R-Paris Twp.) and Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland), will give companies who invest in truck driver training for employees a tax credit. The credit creates a “total of one-half of the training expenses for employers and includes a cap of $25,000 per company,” according to Stoltzfus’s press release.
“The trucking industry transports over two-thirds of all freight throughout the United States, which is important for our economy as Ohio sits at the crossroads of America as our economy moves on transportation,” he said. “The legislation will help trucking companies that are facing difficulty finding drivers by allowing them to use this tax credit.”
“The credit will give these companies the resources necessary to train more highly qualified drivers, which is important for the advancement of both our economy and workforce.” Stoltzfus added.
Howse said most Ohioans who want to become truck drivers can’t because they are “not in the financial position” to take the mandatory training opportunities.
“By providing companies with the resources necessary to connect prospective employees with training programs to develop their professional skills, we are ensuring that all Ohioans have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream right here at home,” she said.
The bill will next be taken up in the Ohio Senate.
Across America, the trucking industry faces a significant shortage of drivers. According to an 2015 analysis done by trucking.org, it predicted a nationwide shortage of more than 140,000 truck drivers this year. This number increased from just 38,000 in 2014. Furthermore, in four years the truck driver job openings will be at 175,000.
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Zachery Schmidt is the digital editor of Star News Digital Media. If you have any tips, email Zachery at [email protected]