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The NTA and Nebraska Trucking Foundation, in partnership with the University of Nebraska-Omaha and the American Transportation Research Institute, conducted a special trucking career focus group on Jan. 21 aimed at learning what messages are most effective for the next generation and, ultimately, easing driver shortages for Nebraska carriers.

The NTA Virtual Focus Group brought eighteen high school students from Alliance to Omaha to weigh in on messages aimed at careers in trucking.

“Year-after-year, we see driver shortage as a major concern for the industry,” said Dave Zelnio, NTA Director, Operations & Communication. “By talking to the next generation, we can make Nebraska a leader and start convincing more young people to choose professional driving careers.”

NTA challenged some members to create advertisements that speak to this next generation. The ads weren’t for immediate hires, but they aimed to boost the reputation of trucking as a career. Teens discussed the advertisements and why they fell flat and why they were effective, he said.

“We plan to learn from this focus group, polish our messaging for the next generation and put our industry out there as a great career possibility,” Zelnio said.

The Focus Group was hosted by Kelsey Medeiros, PhD Assistant Professor, Management at UNO College of Business Administration.  Advertisements and slogans were provided by the NTA, RDO Truck Center, Werner Enterprises, Crete Carrier, Go Express and Fremont Contract Carriers.

“The focus group was a refreshing way to see how the next generation of workers perceive the trucking industry,” said Erin Speltz ATRI Research Analyst, who was a key play in helping the NTA organize the focus group. “The students’ opinions and reflections shared during the focus group serve as an insightful guide when generating and implementing strategies to address the driver shortage.”

Participants each received a $50 Amazon Gift Card for their participation.  More than 50 students applied to participate and those who did not attend the virtual group will receive a follow up survey and a smaller gift of thanks.

For more information on the NTA Trucking Careers Focus Group, the report and future plans, contact [email protected].