From Trucking U to Future Ready, U.S. Xpress invests in cultivating the next generation of supply chain and trucking professionals.
What’s happening: There are almost 8 million trucking-related jobs in the U.S., but the industry doesn’t always make the list when students are picking a career path. That’s why U.S. Xpress invests in programs at the college and high school levels to support students in exploring trucking careers.
Why it matters: In 2021, trucks moved about 11 billion tons of freight, and the industry had $900 billion in revenue. Trucking is a complex industry that needs skilled people in everything from accounting and technology to operations and communications roles.
The bottom line: U.S. Xpress supports multiple programs focused on educating students and attracting new talent to trucking and logistics, including the Trucking U program through American Trucking Associations, as well as university and high school programs in the company’s hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Trucking and logistics are essential to everyday life, but the industry is somewhat misunderstood when it comes to its potential as a place for a rewarding career.
“People don’t realize that working in trucking means you can work in operations, sales, accounting, human resources, information technology,” said Brandon Bibbs, vice president of Enterprise Sales for U.S. Xpress. “There are almost 8 million trucking-related jobs in the U.S.”
U.S. Xpress supports multiple programs focused on educating students and attracting new talent to trucking and logistics, including the Trucking U program through American Trucking Associations, as well as university and high school programs in the company’s hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Encouraging college students to apply for Trucking U is one way Brandon is helping spread the word about careers in the industry. Full-time college seniors who are majoring in business or a related field can apply for an all-expenses-paid trip to the American Trucking Associations annual Management Conference and Exhibition, or MCE event. The Trucking U program is a unique networking and educational opportunity in the industry.
“These students get exposure to C-suite management, they walk the show floor with a seasoned executive, they build connections they will use for a lifetime,” Brandon said.
The event, which is happening Oct. 14-17, 2023, in Austin, Texas, brings together trucking executives from all over the country to set the priorities and the agenda for ATA for the coming year. Everyone from the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to retired NFL players come to speak to the group. Nearly 3,000 people attend, and more than 200 companies exhibit.
Trucking U students get a tour of the MCE exhibit hall and can meet manufacturers of all kinds of equipment, see new technology, and talk with trucking professionals from across the industry landscape. They also have access to events that aren’t part of the general conference experience, including receptions, luncheons, ATA policy committee meetings, and insider access to receptions and exhibits.
“It’s all free for the students thanks to the sponsors who donate to cover travel, meals, lodging, and attendance at the MCE event,” Brandon said. “Our sponsors understand the value of the program in attracting talent to our industry.”
This video featuring Brandon offers students an overview of the program, which is open for applications until June 16.
U.S. Xpress also supports the Freight Broker Professional program at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, which helps people launch freight broker careers with 90 days of intensive logistics, communication, and sales training.
“When graduates can launch their careers with a greater understanding of the industry and minimize their learning curve, everyone wins,” said U.S. Xpress Director of Key Accounts Andy Porter, who is among the freight pros offering their expertise to students.
The courses are offered in the evenings so people working full-time jobs or in degree programs can still participate while working toward their new career goals.
At the high school level, U.S. Xpress supports the Supply Chain program through Hamilton County Schools Future Ready Institutes. The program includes 20-25 students at two Chattanooga-area high schools who are enrolled in the Supply Chain Program.
Students enter the program during their freshman year and continue through graduation four years later. The curriculum includes work-based learning opportunities at U.S. Xpress headquarters and service centers.
This year, our Safety and Risk Management teams have visited one high school with a tractor and trailer in tow to teach students about what each of their departments do on a daily basis. At another high school, U.S. Xpress leadership acted as judges for a “Shark Tank” student business pitch competition. Supply Chain program students have also visited a U.S. Xpress terminal and a roadside inspection event at interstate scales.
These programs are an important link between supply chain careers and students, Brandon said.
“It’s cool to see students realize there’s so much they can do in trucking and make good careers,” he said. In 2021, trucks moved about 11 billion tons of freight, and the industry had $900 billion in revenue, Brandon added.
“Likely everything you touch or deal with came to you on a truck,” he said. “Trucking is an essential staple of the U.S. economy.”