AUSTIN, Minn. - A new program at Riverland Community College in Austin aims to help save the trucking industry while giving back along the way.
Jonathon Rymer is an indstructor for the driving program at the college, and has been for eight years.
He said the industry is in 'crisis mode' facing a major shortage of drivers. According to DEED, the industry needs 44,000 drivers over the next 10 years in Minnesota alone. The nation will need one million drivers over the next 10 years.
A new foundation at Riverland called Truckers Supporting Future Truckers, or TSFT, is just one creative way to help.
"There's no one thing that we're going to do that's going to make a huge difference. But, if we do a lot of little things a lot of little things do add up. That's kind of the plan with this new program," Rymer said.
The program gives financial aid to students like Raphael Lebron.
Lebron went from homelessness into the program hoping to better his career and become a driver.
The foundation, which was started by an alumni of the trucking program, helps students pay for the costs that add up in the program like gas to get to school and licesning permit fees.
For Lebron, TSFT is not just helpful, but life-changing.
"Because I feel like they care about us," he said. "And that feels good when someone cares about you right? It makes a big change in a lot of people's lives, including mine."
To learn more, head to the driving program's Facebook page here.