When men and women are in elementary school they are conditioned by their parents and teachers to take education seriously. That usually means preparing to go to college. There is not enough emphasis placed on considering “the trades” for a career. With the cost of education out of reach for many of us, we must realize that there are plenty of opportunities (especially for women) in these traditional positions generally stereotyped as “men’s work”. Truck driving is one of them.
When Alyce Widrig asks people to guess what she does for a living, they usually say a nurse or librarian. She laughs. “They don’t expect me to be a truck driver.” But Widrig, fed up with her college experience, read in the newspaper a few years ago that there was a shortage of truck drivers.
On the Federal level there are a number of grants are available that can help you prepare for and even start your own trucking business. Most of these grants were not designed specifically for the trucking industry but can still be used toward the start-up costs of purchasing your own truck and equipment. Many state also provide grants specifically for cdl training schools. Remember each state is different so you will have to do some research.
“And if you applied with the state, you could get a grant and learn how to drive, so I applied, and I got it,” the Sioux Falls native said.
Women say that their male counterparts are very supportive, and female customers welcome them with open arms. The few women that are in the field find they quickly develop a rapport with female customers that the men find hard to replicate. Men have become very accepting of these women and most of the time become very protective of their female coworkers. Men benefit because it can create a family-like atmosphere. Outsiders are usually impressed and sometimes in awe when these women tell them what they do. The trucking industry needs to reach out us at an earlier age. Male dominated industries need to look into the untapped resource of women to start filling these positions immediately.