A leading state lawmaker in Arkansas wants to reimburse
students for training in the trucking industry.
Senate President Pro Tempore Jack Critcher, D-Batesville,
said something needs to be done to help fill the estimated 1,000 trucking jobs
available today in Arkansas. He cited a U.S. Department of Labor study that
said professional truck drivers will be the state's top job growth occupation
through 2014, accounting for nearly 12,000 new jobs.
To help fill those jobs, Critcher has offered a two year, $9
million appropriation bill to institute a tuition forgiveness program for Arkansas
residents who want to work in the trucking, transportation and logistics
fields. The money would come via the state's general fund.
Critcher said his bill is intended to help residents get
jobs and cost less than incentives to lure jobs to the state.
"What this would do is offer up to a $3,500 tuition credit
for individuals to become truckers if they agree to live in the state for one
year and work for some firm in the state," Critcher told "Land Line Now" on XM
Satellite Radio. "This program will pay for itself in two years and it will
generate about $90 million in wages."
The bill - SB703 - is in the Joint Budget Committee.
- By Keith Goble,
state legislative editor
Staff Writer Reed
Black contributed to this report.