The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration awarded nearly $1 million in grants to community and junior colleges last week to train military veterans for jobs in the transportation industry.
The biggest award handed out by FMCSA under the guise of the Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Safety Training program went to California’s Long Beach Community College, which received $211,733. Woodlands, Texas-based Lone Star College was awarded $184,260, and Joliet Junior College in Illinois received $176,427. Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College in South Carolina received $150,000; Gray Harbor College in Washington was awarded $131,041; and $120,000 in grant money went to Minnesota’s Century College.
"These grants represent one of the many steps the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has taken to help veterans as they move from military to civilian life," FMCSA’s Anne S. Ferro said in a statement. "From allowing states to consider military experience in their licensing tests to supporting industry job fairs, we are committed to helping our veterans transition into quality jobs."
FMCSA has previously ruled that veterans can waive the skills test in the application process if they have accrued two years behind the wheel of a military vehicle.
Some estimates peg an expected demand for trucking jobs at 300,000 by 2020. To alleviate this burden, carriers have also gotten into the act of recruiting veterans. Werner Enterprises previously stated it would hire 1,000 veterans in 2013 and 5,000 former military members in the next five years. At J.B. Hunt, more than 17 percent of the workforce is composed of veterans, and the carrier has been holding military career days throughout the country.
"The least we can do for the men and women who put their lives on the
line for our country is to help ensure they can find good jobs when they
leave the service," U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said regarding FMCSA's new plan.
"The transportation industry provides a unique opportunity for
military families and veterans to utilize skills they developed in the
service, and we hope these grants will lead to more veterans joining the
ranks of our country's commercial vehicle drivers." - Jon Ross