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May 14, 2021 3:30 PM, EDT

Maine’s Trucking Industry Turns to TikTok in Appeal to Gen Z

Trucks belonging to Pottle's Transportation sit on a lot in Bangor, MaineTrucks belonging to Pottle's Transportation sit in a lot in Bangor, Maine. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

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The Maine Motor Transport Association is targeting Gen Z and other young workers with a video storytelling campaign aimed at filling shortages of truck drivers and technicians.

MMTA plans to launch the “Go. Your Way,” campaign May 18 using TikTok, YouTube and Instagram to educate and attract workers born in 1997 or after. Association CEO Brian Parke said the industry needs to fill thousands of jobs over the next 10 years as current workers age out of the workforce.

The group is pitching the trucking industry’s steady work and good wages as a way for college students to pay off school debt and for high school students to have a career without going to college.

One of the videos in the "Go. Your Way" promotional campaign

The trucking industry is a major economic driver in the state, accounting for one of every 16 jobs, or more than 32,000 positions, in 2018, according to American Trucking Associations. Maine has more than 5,300 trucking companies with wages topping $1.6 billion, and drivers can make from $49,000 to $58,000 annually, the association said.

Nationally, more than 61,000 driver jobs are open. Website Indeed. com lists dozens of industry jobs in Maine, with companies offering thousands of dollars in signing bonuses and salaries up to $80,000 per year for drivers. Other jobs include office support, technicians and freight handlers.

The worker shortage has been ongoing for several years, which Parke said is largely because potential workers do not know much about the trucking industry and do not consider it. However, the pandemic highlighted the industry’s essential role in moving supplies, he said.

Brian Parke by John Sommers II

Parke by John Sommers II for Transport Topics

“One of the positives is there’s a much greater sense of appreciation for what our industry does,” Parke said. “Our members were out there on the road, implementing safety precautions and making sure the store shelves were stocked, food was delivered and medicine got to where it needed to be.”

Commercial trucks move about 68% of goods in the U.S., according to Redwood Logistics. In Maine, more than 84% of communities depend exclusively on trucks to move their goods, according to ATA.

“A career in trucking is a great long-term option for individuals … who don’t necessarily want to follow the typical path of college loan debt followed by 40 years in an office cubicle,” Parke said.

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