Leilani and Cheyenne are two exceptional high school students pursuing careers in the male dominated trucking industry. Leilani is currently enrolled in the Patterson High School truck driving program while Cheyenne is enrolled in the supply chain and logistics management class and will be enrolling in the trucking program next year when she is a senior. As the coordinator and instructor for this unique program, I feel we have an obligation to not only support females that want to enter into this industry but to also provide the resources necessary for them to achieve the success they desire.
One way I would like to support them is to have Leilani and Cheyenne attend the Women in Trucking Conference held November 12-14 in Dallas, Texas. Here they will be able to network and connect with successful women in the trucking industry and meet necessary role models so they can come back and inspire other females in pursuing trucking as a career. The funds raised will go towards sending both Leilani, Cheyenne and one female staff member as a chaperone to the conference.
Donations received in excess of the cost of the trip will go towards the creation of a college scholarship fund exclusively to female Patterson High School students enrolled in the trucking or supply chain and logistics management program to further their studies in these fields.
As one of the first high school truck driving programs in the nation, we have taken a proactive role in addressing the current driver shortage. Our priority now is to promote trucking to a younger audience with a focus on inspiring the next generation of female drivers. With just approximately just 6% of the commercial truck driver workforce made up of females and sadly, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics this is only up 1.1% since 2008 It is apparent that if we expect to see any significant change in the number of women entering into this industry then there has to be a consistent and intentional pathway for them to have positive female role models in which they can connect.
Patterson Joint Unified School District is once again taking progressive steps by having every 4th grade classroom participate in the Trucker Buddy program. Here classrooms are partnered with a commercial truck driver in which they will communicate once a month and begin to build a relationship. Then once a year the driver will visit the school with their truck where students will get to meet the person they have been in communication for a fun day of sharing and exploring the big rig. We feel that by incorporating professional female drivers to be a part of this program that this is the first step to begin “planting the seed” in this exciting career.
To have both these amazing young women choosing to pursue careers in this industry on their own shows their determination and desire to take on challenges. Leilani reiterates this best, “I want to explore this interest in trucking because already I’ve learned that it is challenging. But it isn’t a discouraging challenge, rather it’s a fun challenge that keeps me engaged. I want my CDL because I want this as a career and I want to explore my strengths as a driver and as a person. It is about having respect for the people around you and for life itself. Carrying yourself at a higher standard and actually taking pride in your work both on and off the clock. These are the skills I will need to someday become an owner operator.”
I’m truly inspired by the grit and determination both these young women have. I know by providing the opportunity to attend this conference will only fuel their fire to become the best they can be as they will continue to have a positive impact in this industry.
Funds will be distributed through the Patterson Education Foundation, a non-profit fundraising organization that financially supports enrichment opportunities through the Patterson Joint Unified School District. To request a tax receipt letter, please submit the donor name and mailing address in the notes section on the donor link.
PHS Trucking Coordinator/Instructor
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