The equine transportation, or shipping, industry subsector is a niche sector of a much larger national transportation and logistics industry. The employees in this industry must be knowledgeable, first and foremost, in the requirements of the road and Department of Transportation regulations. However, of equal importance is the need for horsemanship skills and understanding of a very complex equine industry.
For these reasons, equine transportation companies constantly struggle to find, hire, and retain good talent. Bringing similar employers together to form a collaborative allows facilities to discuss similar pain points and concerns. After these initial discussions, it was easily determined that over-the-road CDL drivers was the group’s top priority. These positions are vital to the success of these employers and often work collaboratively within the organization.
Although the companies identified the CDL position as most critical, they also wanted to conduct demand projections and have discussions regarding additional positions, including drivers, track agents, and light mechanics. They also discussed the need for public engagement and education regarding training and career opportunities within the industry. For these reasons, and after numerous discussions with the companies, it was decided to focus on an all-encompassing industry engagement and training program.
- Equine Transportation Vocational Training Program: Playing off the significant shortage of CDL over-the-road drivers in the state, equine transport companies have taken the initiative to partner with Bluegrass Community and Technical College to develop an equine-specific training program for CDL holders.
Individuals will be recruited from CDL schools across the state to the two-week equine intensive training program. Students will learn hands-on equine handling skills and skills about loading, transporting, and navigating situations while traveling with horses. Client interaction, paperwork and documentation requirement, and emergency protocols will also be addressed. Students will complete their training with a two-week shadowing opportunity with an equine transport company before engaging in the interview process with employers.