CHICO, Calif. — Lawmakers are trying to ease the ongoing truck driver shortage with a new bill.
Under AB 376, introduced by San Joaquin Valley Democrat Carlos Villapudua, Cal Grant C would become open for students enrolled in entry-level driver training program. Lawmakers say programs can be costly and they don't currently qualify for the Cal Grant because they're typically less than four months in length.
Villapudua says he not only wants to attract prospective drivers, but dispel truck driver stereotypes.
"If you have a minimum of a year or less, you can start off making about $80,000 a year," he said. "A lot of people think you have to drive from here to Missouri to have a job. You can drive and be around your community everyday."
The California Trucking Association is sponsoring the bill.
"The median age for truckers is mid-40s to mid-50s so there’s a lot of Baby Boomers that are starting to retire so right now there’s a shortage of about 78,000 drivers," said Bernice Jimenez Creager, director of Government and Public Affairs for California Trucking Association.
Creager said the shortage is expected to expand to more than 160,000 over the next couple of years.