FRA ForestryWorks® Technical Release

Back to News

Blog Post

Author: Stephanie Fuller

May 28, 2024

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (March 2024)

According to the American Trucking Associations, there was a nationwide shortage of 60,000 truck drivers in 2023. Although this was an improvement over a record deficit of 81,258 drivers in 2021, the shortage continues to impact the movement of goods and materials across the nation, including forest products.

For loggers, this is nothing new. The challenge of competing with over-the-road freight companies based on wages and benefits is compounded by insurance carriers’ tighter underwriting for log truck drivers. As a result, in survey after survey, loggers continue to identify a lack of drivers as one of the top factors impacting their productivity and profitability. Institute (FWTI), through its forest workforce development initiative (ForestryWorks®), launched a Truck Driver Recruitment Program. First piloted in Alabama in 2020, the program aims to develop a reliable supply of qualified drivers to ensure the efficient movement of forest products to markets.

Recognizing that wages and benefits for forest products truck drivers in most regions may not be competitive with those of over-the-road jobs, the recruitment campaign focuses on “quality of life” and emphasizes the benefits of driving local… ”haul timber by day and be home at night.”

ForestryWorks® Truck Driver Recruitment Program uses geofencing technology around truck stops as well as consumer data to identify drivers and deliver targeted ads to both drivers and their families. Advertising is designed to direct drivers to where they can view a promotional video ( that reinforces the benefits of “drive local, be home at night” messaging. Drivers are then offered the opportunity to complete a simple form to indicate their interest in learning about available jobs closer to home. This driver information is then forwarded to employers who have registered on the ForestryWorks® website and are located near the driver so they can verify qualifications and driving record, determine insurability, and negotiate employment. Employers who have registered with FWTI to receive driver information include loggers, trucking companies hauling mill residuals, and mills with dedicated fleets hauling finished products.

All ForestryWorks® programs have been developed by FWTI staff and are managed at the state level by ForestryWorks® State Affiliates (usually the state forestry association) under license from FWTI. The Truck Driver Recruitment Program is hosted on the website, and FWTI staff manage all advertising for the program in coordination with the State Affiliate. Driver applications are compiled by State Affiliates and forwarded to employers located near the driver’s home.

The annual cost for a State Affiliate to implement the ForestryWorks® Truck Driver Recruitment Program ranges from $5,000 to $15,000, depending on the portion of the state targeted and the frequency of advertising. State Affiliates may request state-specific promotional assets for an additional cost.
Cost includes:
•Website housing and page development
•Staff time for development and maintenance
•Digital media advertising (geofencing) “ad buys”
•Creative assets (photography and videography)
•Creative development and advertising agency fees

From February 2020 to December 2023, the ForestryWorks® Truck Driver Recruitment Program has recruited over 200 CDL drivers and provided 101 forest industry employers with potential truck-driving employees in Alabama. This recruitment program has proven to be a very cost-effective way to recruit drivers, with an average acquisition cost of $140 per driver.

The Truck Driver Recruitment Program was designed for use in any state with a forest industry presence and requires minimal time from a State Affiliate. It has recently been successfully tested in two other southern states, recruiting an additional 45 drivers.

The Forest Workforce Training Institute is a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation established in 2018 to develop a pipeline of workers for the forest industry. ForestryWorks® is FWTI’s workforce development initiative created to recruit a sustainable supply of qualified workers for the forest industry through forestry education, career promotion, and training solutions.

ForestryWorks® partners with a network of state forestry associations, councils, educational organizations, and government agencies (State Affiliates) to implement workforce development programming unique to the needs of the forest industry in each state. ForestryWorks® currently delivers programming in 8 states including Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Minnesota, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

For more information about ForestryWorks®, please visit our website at or contact Stephanie Fuller at (334) 481-2156 or