EDMONTON – Alberta’s government is helping more women and men train for good-paying jobs in the commercial trucking and transportation industries.
Commercial driving grants totalling $30 million over three years will support unemployed and underemployed Albertans returning to the workforce, while ensuring that drivers receive mandatory training that helps them be safe on the road.
“We are building on the success of the Driving Back to Work grant program that has helped hundreds of Albertans retrain for a career in the transportation sector. It’s important that we continue to support an industry that’s facing a labour shortage by putting more drivers on our roads,” states Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Transportation.
Annual funding of $10 million for the next three years is earmarked for the Driving Back to Work program to encourage more women to enter the trucking industry and for online and simulator training.
“The Alberta government’s investment in women in the commercial driving industry shows that representation matters and truly makes a difference. A career behind the wheel provides exceptional opportunities for our graduates to reach financial independence,” said Carol Moen, president and CEO, Women Building Futures.
“This announcement recognizes and supports a safe, resilient and evolving supply chain for all Albertans. We thank the Alberta government for this funding, which will help remove roadblocks for careers in the commercial transportation industry and help maintain the efficient transport of people and goods,” adds Chris Nash, president, Alberta Motor Transport Association.
Commercial drivers will also have the option to do their Class 1 road test in either an automatic or manual transmission vehicle starting in early 2023. This change recognizes the reality of the modern trucking industry where more than half of the trucks on Alberta roads have automatic transmissions. Drivers who are tested and passed on an automatic transmission will be limited to driving automatic trucks only.
- Annual commercial driver training grants include:
- $6 million for the Driving Back to Work grant program to support unemployed Albertans
- $3 million to support women returning to the workforce and underemployed Albertans
- $1 million towards developing online and virtual reality simulator training
- The Driving Back to Work grant program currently supports unemployed Albertans, including women, by covering
90 per cent of Class 1 Mandatory Entry Level Training.
- Since November 2020, Alberta has invested $8 million in the Driving Back to Work grant program to support 800 unemployed Albertans completing Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT) to obtain a Class 1 licence.
- According to Labour and Immigration’s September 2021 data, 41,000 Albertans identify “truck driver” as their occupation. Of these, 38,500 are employed and 1,600 are unemployed.
- It is estimated that by 2023 there will be a shortage of about 3,600 commercial drivers in Alberta.
- More than 50 per cent of all goods in Alberta are delivered by truck.