The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently announced that it will provide nearly $1 million in grants to train military veterans for jobs in transportation.
The FMCSA’s Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Safety Training (CMVOST) program channels the grants to six colleges throughout the country.
Together, those schools could help train as many as 300 veterans.
The schools are:
- Grays Harbor College, Aberdeen, WA
- Long Beach Community College, Long Beach, CA
- Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College, Orangeburg, SC
- Lone Star College, Woodlands, TX
- Century College, White Bear Lake, MN
- Joliet Junior College, Joliet, IL
Two years ago, the FMCSA established a waiver program for veterans with safe driving records and experience. States have the authority to accept two years of the vet’s experience on military vehicles that are similar to commercial motor vehicles in the civilian world, and count it towards the skills required for a commercial driver’s license. So far, 43 states have instituted the waiver program and six such programs are pending, making it easier for former military drivers to acquire CDLs – and jobs – in civilian life.
In March 2013, the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) also introduced a Veterans Initiative that encourages TIA members to recruit, hire and train veterans. Sixty TIA member companies committed to the program’s goals. If you are a veteran or an employer interested in partciipating in the TIA initiative, please email Jay Ruais at [email protected] or call him at (703) 299-5713.
Programs like these are a win-win for veterans and the industry, providing opportunities for veterans to apply their skills in an industry that has an estimated shortage of 30,000 drivers currently. In the long-term, the industry is expected to add 300,000 positions by 2020. Others are estimating that the number could grow even faster due to new HOS rules instituted on July 1.
The labor market for veterans has been steadily improving in recent months, and unemployment for vets is down to 6.2%. However, more than a million service members are expected to enter the workforce in the next five years, so these and other civilian job opportunities will be most welcome.
If you know a veteran who might consider a career in transportation, please pass this information along.