Governor's Office of Minority Empowerment

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, May 02, 2006  
Contact Information:  Brett Hall, Jodi Whitaker, Troy Body

Initiative considered great opportunity for residents in the Empowerment Zone

Governor Ernie Fletcher today announced an Entrepreneurial Trucking Initiative to increase Kentucky’s work force with trained personnel in the growth industry of trucking.

The American Trucking Association has indicated the national shortage of truck drivers at nearly 80,000. According to the Census, transportation occupations have a growth rate of 1.6 percent.

“This is a great opportunity for Louisville and for all of Kentucky,” Governor Fletcher said. “This initiative will provide real economic opportunity to individuals in our communities that truly deserve it.”

The initiative is designed to bring economic opportunity and prosperity to individuals and communities in the Greater Louisville Area, particularly those in the designated Empowerment Zone.

The Empowerment Zone in Louisville has a high concentration of at-risk populations: ex-offenders, recovering addicts and disenfranchised youth.  Almost half of the residents live at or below the poverty level and of those, 90 percent are unemployed.  The focus will be on individuals who are in the multiple barrier population and are ready for a positive change.

Kentucky has approximately 27,500 individuals on probation or parole. A large number of these individuals are in the city of Louisville. An unemployed ex-offender is three times more likely to return to prison.

“Everyone deserves a second chance,” said Tierra Kavanaugh-Turner, executive director, Governor’s Office of Minority Empowerment. “This initiative is an economic development initiative. It will offer much more than a one time job opportunity. Participants in the program will learn lifelong career training and financial independence.”

The initiative will serve 40 individuals this year; eligible individuals who complete the eight-week program will obtain their commercial driver’s license. A licensed driver who places with a trucking company can expect to gross $34,000 annually.  Graduates of the Entrepreneurial Trucking Initiative who move into owner/operator positions with trucks of their own could expect a yearly gross of $80,000.

The Entrepreneurial Trucking Initiative will be administered by Jefferson Community and Technical College. Individuals interested in applying should contact the college at (502) 213-5333.