By Terri Dee
Indiana News Service
INDIANAPOLIS — The transportation and warehousing industry continues to lead as Indiana’s fastest-growing business sector, and has been for over a decade now, but the companies, like many others, don’t have enough employees.
The Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University said despite hiring bonuses and “help wanted” signs posted at trucking companies, too many jobs remain unfilled.
Carla Rogers, director of the center, said at the onset of the pandemic, the demand for goods could not keep up with the low supply of workers.
“We suddenly started getting more and more stuff delivered,” Rogers recounted. “Instead of going to a store, we were getting it delivered. That needed more trucks, more truck drivers, more people in the warehouses to do the stocking.”
Rogers pointed out Indiana’s Department of Workforce Development has received federal money to create “WorkOne,” an online center arranged by county where people can get information on choosing or changing a career, job training and apprenticeships.
She is also optimistic Indiana will continue to offer a “high school to community college to commercial training” pipeline for the next generation of workers in these fields.
Rogers thinks the trucking industry still has some barriers to address, to help people understand truck driving can be not only a safe experience, but also a well-paid career.
“We really ought to be looking at women, young people and people of color,” Rogers urged. “These are the folks that could really benefit by what trucking is doing – and also train people up to become digitally literate.”
According to the Business Research Center, between 2011 and 2021, Indiana’s transportation and warehousing sector grew by almost 37%, adding more than 46,000 jobs, bringing the total number of statewide transportation and warehousing jobs to more than 171,000.