The Louisiana trucking industry needs workers. A new Baton Rouge museum hopes to help.

The Louisiana trucking industry needs workers. A new Baton Rouge museum hopes to help.
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A trucking industry group has purchased two downtown buildings for $1.2 million and plans to move its offices there and open a truck museum to promote transportation jobs to young people.

The Louisiana Motor Transport Association Foundation bought the buildings at 325 Florida and 329 Florida St. in a deal that was filed Friday with the East Baton Rouge Clerk of Court’s Office. The seller was McFerrin LLC of Baton Rouge.

Renee Amar, executive director of the LMTA, said the plan is to move the association’s offices to the second floor of 325 Florida after the legislative session ends. The two buildings have a total of 6,000 square feet of space.

Café Mimi has opted out of renewing its lease and the restaurant will move out of 329 Florida at the end of June. The LMTA is working with an architect to turn that space into a trucking museum, Amar said. The timetable and cost for building the museum is still being determined, but the LMTA should have a better idea in two or three months.

The LMTA started looking for a new office space about a year ago, Amar said. The organization started looking for potential museum sites first, because of the importance of attracting more truck drivers to overcome massive workforce shortages.

The goal of the museum is to make it easier to recruit new drivers. According to the American Trucking Association, the industry has a national shortfall of 64,000 drivers in 2023. That number is expected to hit 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 on that 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 cover 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 currently has its offices at 4838 Bennington Ave., just off College Drive. Amar said the 4,000-square-foot building has more space than the association currently needs.

Over the past several years, a number of business associations have moved their offices downtown, in order to be closer to the Legislature and the Capitol. 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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About Mary Weyand 14391 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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