Local initiative aims to get more women in the trucking industry

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) It may not be an easy job, but it is important. Each day, truck drivers transport goods across the country that consumers need.

But, there has been some concern over the decline of those willing to take on the role as a truck driver. Long hours, hard work, and time away from family can all be deterring factors.

For decades, the industry has been dominated by men. However, a local group in Virginia wants to change that.

A partnership between Virginia Western and CDS Tractor Trailer training aims at getting more women in the industry. The two created a massive billboard on an 18-wheeler that has been driving around the Roanoke area.

“We’ve seen a huge uptick in the number of women who have come into our program,” said Crystal Kennedy. “We’re up to about 10 percent of our student population being women.”

Kennedy said some women have seen the billboard and pictured themselves behind the wheel of a truck for the first time.

Faye Clark is one of those women now training to become a truck driver.

“My favorite thing is knowing I can handle something that big on the road, and be able to transport the merchandise people needs these days,” Clark said.

While the goal of the campaign is to get more women in the trucking industry, Kennedy said there is a broader lesson to take away from it all.

“We need to challenge some of the stereotypes coming out in today’s industry,” she said. “Whether it be males in nursing or women in trucking.”