More women getting behind the wheel in Illinois as trucking industry seeks drivers

Cornilla Johnson, a student truck driver at All Pro Truck School, stands next to training rigs outside Morton College, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, in Cicero, Ill.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

In 2008, Maggie Selagea and her husband lost their construction business, worth millions, to the economic crash.

“When the economy crashed, we fell flat on our face,” Selagea said. She and her husband realized they needed to find “something that was not going to be affected so much by the economy.”

Selagea said she found that more stable industry in transportation — specifically, trucking. 

“Everything in this world needs transportation,” Selagea said. “People commute in order to survive. If this industry stops, that means that the world will stop.”

In 2008, Selagea said, she became a supervisor for Mega Load, a car carrier company. It’s based in Chicago but transports across the U.S.

Selagea is just one of the thousands of women who have joined the industry over the past two decades when the number of female drivers increased by 80%.

In 1999, there were about 3.1 million truck drivers and 4.9%, or 152,684, were women. In 2021, there were nearly 3.5 million truck drivers and 7.9%, or 275,473, were women, according to the Department of Labor.

At Mega Load, Selagea supervises six drivers and a fleet of nine trucks. When she’s short-staffed, Selagea gets behind the wheel. 

“I grew up with nine brothers, so I’m a car fanatic,” Selagea said. “I truly handle them with care, and I expect the same from everyone we work with.”

Selagea’s heightened sense of care for her product and equipment says something about how women are changing the industry — …read more

Source:: Chicago Sun Times

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