As unions face unprecedented attacks from Republican politicians and their big business partners across the country, the need to get the message out about what they are doing and who they are has become increasingly important.
The National Association for Minority Truckers (NAfMT) is facing that challenge, working to get its message out to the public, businesses and minority truckers across the nation.
“NAfMT is currently focusing on getting the word out throughout the country to bring about the awareness of the organization,” said Tiffany Johnson, spokesperson for NAfMT. “We are utilizing several platforms to let minority truckers know that they now have assistance, a voice and an advocate in the transportation industry.
“We have been invited to several events around the country to speak to large numbers of truckers by our partners who share in our vision and have a vested interest in seeing the small, minority trucker succeed,” she said.
According to Johnson, NAfMT began its dialog with several minority-owned banks in an attempt to provide financing for CDL Schools, which trains professional truck drivers. There is currently a shortage of more than 200,000 jobs in the trucking industry. According to Johnson, those numbers will double by 2014.
“This is a great opportunity for a grassroots effort to get the unemployed, disenfranchised youth both trained and employed,” said Johnson.
With the Black community suffering from high unemployment rates, truck driving might be the next big thing to help those looking for work. But what about those who are trying to rejoin society after serving time? According to Johnson, “NAfMT is developing several committees to address issues such as employing convicted felons who are trying to get a second chance in society yet can’t seem to get the opportunity.”
Currently, NAfMT is working with industry partners like Getloaded.com and CH Robinson Worldwide to provide greater business opportunities for minorities in trucking. Getloaded.com is one of the industry’s largest freight matching services. CH Robinson Worldwide is, according to Fortune Magazine, the world’s most attractive logistics company.
“We are also working with other partners to assist minority truckers in first understanding the process of becoming a minority certified business and the opportunities associated with this, as most minority truckers are unaware of the process and organizations such as the National Minority Supplier Development Counsel,” Johnson said.
With the busy schedule ahead for NAfMT, one could get the impression that they might not have time to plan for the future. But the organization has its collective eyes on the prize.
“NAfMT is looking to launch the nation’s first full transportation academy,” said Johnson. “This campus will provide training in the areas of CDL, diesel engine mechanic, freight broker, freight forwarding and general business. As a minority organization with its founder’s roots in the industry, NAfMT and our staff fully understand the obstacles facing minorities in the industry. Most of this is about being patient and teaching, as well as preparing our members to compete in a very competitive yet important industry.”
Minority truckers are currently being targeted in order to fill voids in the industry. Johnson believes that the next question is, “How can minorities continue to grow in an industry and expect to compete and prosper without education, a unified voice? We must be reminded that the average truck driver is trained to drive a truck, not develop, market and grow a business, yet they all aspire to do so.”
“NAfMT is committed to helping each member who desires to live the American dream, whether it is by employment or entrepreneurship,” Johnson said.