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  • Writer's pictureStaff @ LT&C

The Louisiana trucking industry in dire need of young workers

The Louisiana Motor Transport Association Foundation bought two downtown Baton Rouge buildings for $1.2 million with plans to move its offices there, as well as open up a trucking museum to entice young people to transportation jobs.


The trucking industry group bought the buildings at 325 Florida and 329 Florida St. from McFerrin LLC, of Baton Rouge. The deal was filed Friday with the East Baton Rouge Clerk of Court’s Office.

Renee Amar, executive director of the LMTA, said the plan is to move into the second floor of 325 Florida after the legislative session ends.


The restaurant at 329 Florida St. has opted not to resign their lease and will be moved out by the end of June. The LMTA is working with an architect to turn that space into a trucking museum, Amar said. The timing and cost for building the museum are still being determined, but the LMTA should have a better idea in two or three months what to do with the combined 6,000 sq-ft buildings.


The hope of the museum is to recruit young people to drive these trucks. The industry has a national shortfall of 64,000 drivers in 2023, according to the American Trucking Association. That number is expected to skyrocket to 160,000 drivers by 2030.


“We can’t recruit drivers, so we need to get kids interested in what we do,” Amar said. “The concept is we have to get that generation engaged much earlier than we are doing right now.”


Amar said the LMTA Foundation had $2 million in the bank to cover the cost of buying a new office and some operating and demolition costs. LMTA board and foundation members will determine how much they want to spend on outfitting the museum.


“We want to pay cash,” she said.


The LMTA, with offices at 4838 Bennington Ave., is one of a number of business associations to move real estate to the downtown Baton Rouge area. The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, the Louisiana Realtors Association and the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors are some of the organizations that now have headquarters downtown.

 

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