The trucking industry struggles to keep enough safe, eligible drivers on the roadways to meet customer demands for on time deliveries, just as thousands of service men and women return home from their overseas duties. A new program by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration attempts to pool this large body of new workers with the lack of jobs in the trucking industry for a win-win solution to both issues.
The program is Commercial Motor Carrier Vehicle Operators Safety Training, and it is a grant program providing sizeable grants to six colleges which offer training programs to receive a Commercial Driver’s License, or CDL. The money is expected to cover tuition for about 300 returning vets and spouses of vets. The six schools receiving grants from the program are:
- $211,733 to Long Beach Community College in Long Beach, California
- $184,260 to Lone Star College in Woodlands, Texas
- $176,427 to Joliet Junior College in Joliet, Illinois
- $150,000 to Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College in Orangeburg, South Carolina
- $131,041 to Grays Harbor College in Aberdeen, Washington
- $120,000 to Century College in White Bear Lake, Minnesota
These grants add up to almost $1 million toward training veterans for careers back home, and helps fill some of the 300,000 new trucking jobs the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects to open by the year 2020.
This isn’t the first assistance the FMCSA has extended to returning vets to help them score jobs in trucking. In May 2011, the agency waived the requirement to complete a skills test before receiving a commercial learner’s permit, so long as the applicant is able to demonstrate two years of safe driving experience in a military version of a commercial motor vehicle.
The FMCSA is also supportive of job fairs, which is a primary way for people (veterans as well as civilians) to find career opportunities.