Drive On: One Woman Jump-Starts a Truck-Driving Career

13.7% – that is the percentage of professional drivers who are female, according to the Women in Trucking Association (WIT).

While this number might seem small, this is an increase of more than three percent since 2019. WIT prides themselves that at a time when the trucking industry is significantly struggling to recruit and keep an adequate number of professional drivers, the number of women earning their Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) and becoming professional drivers has continued to grow in recent years, even through a pandemic. Getting a CDL is no easy feat, but it is key to starting a career as a truck driver. A few of the specific qualifications needed include passing a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical, passing a DOT drug screen, meeting the age requirements and having a good driving record.

Right here in East Tennessee, we have someone adding her contribution to this ever-growing number of women in the truck driving field.

Meet Juanita!

A couple of years ago, Juanita moved into The Restoration House (TRH) with her two small children. The Restoration House is a Strong Women Strong Futures network member whose mission is to “help restore single mothers and their children back to God’s good intent for their lives. Through supportive transitional housing, ally teams, family advocacy, and youth development, TRH walks alongside low-income single-parent families, helping them break harmful cycles and regain home and a future.” When Juanita moved into TRH, she had her permanent residency and had big goals of becoming a United States citizen and a truck driver!

For two years, she participated in an ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) program at a local community college as she also prepared to take her citizenship test.

With determination, grit, and perseverance, she not only completed ESOL, but also enrolled in a truck driving program. Juanita met many challenges, but she kept her goals in mind and kept going to successfully complete the program with her commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Juanita wasn’t finished with her goals. Just a few months after completing truck driving school, she made the trip to Nashville, TN and passed her citizenship test on her first try!

Juanita’s story demonstrates the power of perseverance and post-secondary education.

Juanita is living proof that pursuing post-secondary education — whether that’s at a college, technical school, or certificate program — can open so many doors for families and change their life trajectories.

Juanita’s journey has not been easy, with multiple barriers along the way, but she never gave up. She was able to achieve her two goals along with so much more through her time at TRH!

We could not be prouder of her!

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