Mississippi Black Women Make Strides in Trucking Careers
Tuesday, September 5, 2023
A Mississippi Black-owned business is cultivating solutions to the transportation industry by training women of color to get into trucking.
Nearly 60% of truck drivers are white, and just under 13% are African American. Mississippi communities rely heavily on trucks for the delivery of everyday goods.
Willie Jones - president and CEO of DSC Training Academy in Jackson - said her company is educating women to consider a nontraditional career in the trucking business, where she said women drivers will find equitable pay.
"As long as you're able to drive that truck and get that freight from point A to point B, your pay is going to be equal to the men that are out there," said Jones. "We know for sure that there are higher-wage opportunities. Of course, in trucking, our first-year graduates average anywhere from $50,000 to $70,000 a year, and they have opportunities to earn so much more."
Jones said the Magnolia State has workforce training dollars available for women to access opportunities that will increase their wages.
She added that graduates are well prepared for the job market and meet the immediate and long-term needs of the transportation industry.
Jones said her company works to match students' personal needs with their professional goals and expectations. She adds they are working on implementing a new training initiative that will also provide mentoring, mental health and other resources for those who are mothers.
"We're very excited to have a new program that we're getting ready to launch at DSC called 'Mississippi Women in Trucking,'" said Jones. "And we are recruiting 20 women for this pilot program. So, we're providing up to 12 months of affordable childcare paid for these women, in addition to transportation assistance and other wraparound services."
With DSC as an example, Jones wants to show policymakers what the future of workforce development looks like in Mississippi, and encourages them to help women be successful.
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