Career fair helps bridge gap between military, civilian life

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Diesel Driving Academy admissions officer Jan Musik said her company took part in the career fair to help provide the skills veterans need to enter the trucking industry. The academy, she said, has eight to 10 veterans now. “We’re open to everyone, but veterans should get first priority because they’re the ones fighting for our freedom,” Musik said. “A lot want to do this to get out there, see the country and get paid a good salary to do it.”

A dozen military veterans listened quietly to Mike Rollins in the lobby of Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

“Don’t limit yourselves. Don’t just talk to one or two companies because of their name,” he advised before they headed into a job fair Thursday in an adjoining conference room. “You don’t want to work in the oil field? Remember, each of them is a corporation with human resources, administration, technical and mechanical needs. They’re all here for you.”

Some veterans wore military uniforms; others, suits. Some came alone, others brought their spouses and children. They were young and old, active-duty military and those transitioning into civilian life.

But they all needed and wanted the same thing — an opportunity to use in civilian employment the skills they earned through military service.

“Look at this kid here,” Rollins said. “He probably just came back from Afghanistan, where he was kicking in doors without knowing if certain death was behind it. It’s a shame he has to come back here and look for a job. To me, there’s no one more deserving.”

Rollins is national accounts director for RecruitMilitary, the national military-to-civilian transitional service that held the job fair. Veteran-owned, veteran-operated and veteran-advised, the organization hosts 64 hiring events in 36 cities annually.

Thursday was RecruitMilitary’s first venture in Shreveport-Bossier City, and was held in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes program. More than 30 local, regional and national businesses and more than 300 veterans were registered to participate.

“Anybody putting veterans to work is doing a service to the country,” Rollins said. “But, to us, being veteran-owned means we’ve been in their shoes. We understand. We can connect with them. Our message is: If you’re going to hire one person this year, why not make it a veteran?”

The unemployment rate among veterans was 6.6 percent in August, down from 7.7 percent in August 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. By gender, the jobless rate in August was 9.1 percent for female veterans, was 9.1 percent in August; 6.3 percent for male veterans.

Tonya Veazey, who left the Army in 2006, spent Thursday searching for flexible, part-time employment. She arrived at the career fair with her husband, Tamiko Veazey, who is active in the Army.

“A lot of people don’t want to hire,” Tonya Veazey said. “They say they’ll hire you but not your spouse. They aren’t flexible with his schedule, which means they aren’t flexible with mine.”

Veazey and her husband are raising three children. She’s studying nursing at Bossier Parish Community College in Bossier City. And she’s on her own when her husband is deployed.

“Some people think military spouses don’t want to work, that they just want to stay home. That’s not it,” she said.

The military absorbs a bulk of time many young people use to educate themselves for civilian jobs or to develop a skill set that would put them to work. For many veterans, young and old, leaving the service is the first reason to think of a post-military career... Continue reading.



Truck Driving- Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

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America’s goods often move by truck.

But being a trucker is a tough job. As the BLS notes, driving a truck is “major lifestyle choice, because these drivers can be away from home for days or weeks at a time.”

Truckers are feeling pressured in other ways, too. Diesel fuel is expensive for the independents. There are limits on how long the driver can remain behind the wheel without rest. National fleets are trying to recruit drivers with clean records. As a result, the American Trucking Association says the turnover rate for drivers is now over 100 percent per year. The ATA estimates the industry needs 20,000 to 30,000 drivers.

In New York, Philip Wilson, a driver for Mom’s & Son Transport, says he likes driving a truck because he gets to meet different people and go to different places. The downside of his trade: traffic and tickets.

The BLS says the 771,000 short-haul drivers such as Mr. Wilson make a mean annual salary of $33,120. The 1.5 million long haul truckers make $39,830. Neither short haul or long haul truckers would owe any federal income tax if they make less than $46,400 a year.


Veterans Job Training – Motion to Waive

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Vote Rejected (58-40, 2 Not Voting)

The Senate spent much of last week working on this bill that would have created a so-called jobs corps to assist Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in finding post-service employment. After invoking cloture on a motion to proceed to the bill, a substitute amendment by Veterans Affairs Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., was introduced.

Among other things, the amendment would have required states to issue certain licenses, such as for plumbing or truck driving, to veterans without the normal requirements if eligible applicants had at least 10 years’ experience in related military activities. Budget Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., raised a point of order against the amendment that its costs exceeded the amount of funding allowed under current budgetary limitations. Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., then moved to waive the point of order, which would have allowed the amendment to be debated. 60 votes are required to waive budgetary points of order, however, and proponents of the bill fell two votes shy. Sustaining the point of order effectively killed the bill.


Service Industry Urges Action to Fight Technician Shortage

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By Seth Clevenger, Staff Reporter
This story appears in the Sept. 24 print edition of Transport Topics.

PITTSBURGH — Facing the prospect of having to replace tens of thousands of technicians in the coming years, officials from the trucking and fleet maintenance industries have urged companies to work closely with educators as one way to attract new talent.

“It’s not a problem, it’s an impending crisis,” Bonne Karim, chairman of the Technology & Maintenance Council’s Professional Technician Development Committee, said of the technician shortage at a Sept. 12 session here during TMC’s fall meeting.

Total employment among truck and bus mechanics and diesel engine specialists is projected to climb 14.5% to 277,400 in 2020, from 242,200 in 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Labor expects 87,800 job openings in this sector during the decade, with 35,200 resulting from growth and 52,600 because of workers retiring or leaving the industry.

The replacement figure is a “scary number,” said George Arrants, director of business development at Lincoln Technical Institute, which offers seven diesel programs. “Most of it is based on the aging workforce.”

Arrants is chairman of TMC’s SuperTech competition, an annual contest held in conjunction with the fall meeting to recognize top technicians and promote the profession (9-17, p. 1).
Detroit Diesel Corp. in 2010 estimated that half of its mechanics would retire by 2015, Preston Ingalls, CEO of consultancy TBR Strategies, told Transport Topics.

He cited statistics from job placement agency Manpower Inc. that found the largest worker shortage in the United States was in skilled trades such as mechanics and welders in several industries, including trucking.

That agency placed the lack of mechanics above the driver shortage.

Kevin Holland, senior manager, service training at Daimler Trucks North America, said a poll of the company’s dealers and distributors indicated DTNA’s service network will need to acquire an additional 6,400 technicians by 2020.

At the TMC session, Karim, a retired fleet training manager for the U.S. Postal Service, pointed to one Postal Service vehicle maintenance facility on the East Coast as an example of the shortage. She said the agency has never been able to hire a full complement of technicians since it opened about 14 years ago and currently is staffed at only 60%.

And the gap between the labor needed and the labor available is expected to widen, said Tim Lawrence, executive director of SkillsUSA, a national organization for students preparing for careers in technical occupations.

“It’s going to get worse unless we face it and come up with some solutions,” he said.

Some employers are addressing the shortage by partnering with schools and community colleges, and “planting those seeds early,” said Ray Wheeling, vice president of advanced training at Universal Technical Institute, which offers diesel training programs at eight of its 11 campuses.

Companies are hosting career events to showcase modern truck technology, he said. They also can use video conferences to bring their shops to the classroom and get high school students excited about the profession.

Kevin Tomlinson, director of maintenance for South Shore Transportation Co., Sandusky, Ohio, said parents sometimes push students away from the vocational field because they see it as unfulfilling, dirty and academically inferior.

“It’s a culture change. You have to make them think differently. Everybody in the industry is competing for the same individuals, and you have to let them know that those positions are out there,” Tomlinson said.

The industry must get the word out that the technician field is really not what they think it is, he said.
Lawrence, of SkillsUSA, said the companies that work with educators have a recruitment advantage.
“The employers who are inside the schools, helping build that pipeline, are the employers who are going to actually get those students,” he said.

Wheeling, of Universal Technical Institute, said the biggest challenge for technician students over the past few years has been the cost of training, coupled with their inability or reluctance to take on debt.
The companies with more ad-vanced recruiting strategies have used scholarships and sponsorships to combat this problem, he said.

Financial assistance can also take other forms. One large fleet, for example, is offering upward of $10,000 in tools after a year of employment, Wheeling said.

Assistance with tuition loans and relocation costs for new hires are other ways that companies are offering financial incentives.

Tom James, CEO of the Truck Renting and Leasing Association, said there’s “an incredible pool of potential job candidates in our military veterans.”

“You’re going to find people that have those basic employability skills, many people who already have the skills needed in the shops, and you’re going to be helping out people who have served our country,” James said.

“It’s not the answer to the shortage, but it’s a very good step in the right direction,” he added.

Senior Reporter Rip Watson contributed to this story


PTDI Expands across Borders as Regulations Become More Harmonized

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September 17, 2012
Contact: David Heller, PTDI Program Director
703-647-7015 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Alexandria, Virginia – With the increasing Internet visibility and harmonization of regulations across borders, the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) is expanding its reach in Canada and beyond as it continues to receive international requests.

For Louise Philbin, education director and founder of 5th Wheel Training Institute, in Haileybury, Ontario, Canada, which recently received PTDI course recertification at its two sites, that’s good news. The rural, northern Ontario school received its initial course certification in 2000. “At the time, PTDI certainly was a visionary idea in Canada,” said Philbin. “Today I see PTDI certification as even more relevant for us as a Canadian school with the increasing competition, the changes in regulations, and the North American Free Trade Agreement, which means there’s a lot more harmonization of standards between the two countries.

“Our students are prepared to cross over the border and drive in the states, because our program covers all the U.S. requirements and regulations.”

Philbin added that over the years, PTDI has become more attractive in that students recognize its importance through Internet exposure. “In years past, there was a lot of lip service to the standards, but now there’s an awareness that the higher standards are very important to students, to the trucking industry, to funders, and even to insurance companies, so now it’s become value-added for us to follow the same international standards.”

Al Gurka, site manager of Schuylkill Technology Center, in Pottsville, Penn., who also has offered PTDI-certified courses since 2000 and which were recently recertified, said, “The PTDI website is a great tool for us. Prospective students can check the website to see what kind of training they will receive. We’re a small school in Pennsylvania, so somebody who never heard of us can check the PTDI website, and it presents us with good credentials. And carriers absolutely check the PTDI website. They send us prospective students based on the fact that we have PTDI certification.”

Internet exposure has definitely broadened PTDI’s reach. Certification coordinator Marlene Dakita said that the institute has received inquiries and/or applications from educators not only in Canada and the U.S., but in Egypt, Guam, Guatemala, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia. They even had interest from a contractor working with the U.S. Army in Iraq. Plus, she regularly receives inquiries through PTDI’s Web site from prospective students looking for information on schools with a PTDI-certified course.

“We continue to get recertified because the PTDI certification gives us national and international recognition that some small schools don’t get,” Gurka explained. “And we know that if our students move to Canada, they would be recognized there as well.”

The current list of all schools with PTDI-certified courses can be found at


DOT encourages you to subscribe to the MAP-21 list

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Emailed from Department of Transportation:


As a subscriber to updates from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), we thought you might be interested in hearing about the historic transportation legislation recently passed by Congress, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21). The new legislation requires DOT to develop implementation guidelines. We want to make sure that interested stakeholders can stay informed of our progress. We will communicate relevant events and milestones in this important task through the MAP-21 list, and we encourage you to subscribe to the MAP-21 list.


For example, subscribers to the “MAP-21” list received this email:


We are pleased to announce the launch of two National On-Line Dialogues focused on MAP-21 Implementation. These virtual sessions provide stakeholders with an opportunity to provide insights about priorities and implementation strategies on these two issues and will be open from September 13 to 23, 2012.


National Online Dialogue on MAP-21 Transportation Performance Measures
Please join this important dialogue to discuss and provide suggestions on the establishment of performance measures and standards (standards include items such as metrics, data collection, data sources, etc.) for States, MPOs, and/or transit grantees to use to assess the performance and condition of their transportation systems.


National Online Dialogue on MAP-21 Freight Policy
We hope that you log on to this dialogue and offer your suggestions on possible measures for the conditions and performance of a freight system and what should be included in the development of guidance for state freight plans.

These Online Dialogues are free and open to all and will be accessible 24/7 so that you can easily log on from home.  You will have the opportunity to submit, comment on and rate ideas interactively with colleagues from across the country, creating a national exchange of ideas, suggestions and strategies for implementing these specific aspects of MAP-21.


If these online dialogues or other opportunities to learn more about MAP-21 appeal to you, please sign-up for MAP-21 Updates from DOT to continue to receive notices about our implementation efforts. You may also feel free to join the dialogues listed above.


CSA Slammed By Congress; GAO May Investigate

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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of September 10, 2012
Foley Services Your Single Source for DOT Compliance

A Congressional hearing into the CSA compliance monitoring system did not go well for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. After bipartisan criticism, there were calls for the Government Accountability Office to investigate.

NOTE: Issue 755 was delayed in order to report on this hearing in a timely fashion.

As we lead up to the election in November, it is increasingly likely that bipartisanship will become a rare bird. As the parties jostle for positioning, they are less and less likely to try to find common ground.

Unless they are criticizing CSA, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s compliance monitoring system, that is. In a highly contentious hearing last week, both Republicans and Democrats used strong terms to repudiate the program as unfair to carriers and lacking in common sense.

House Meeting

The meeting was called by Rep. John Duncan, R-Tenn., and was intended as a catch-up hearing for the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit after a similar meeting of the House Small Business Committee, raised serious industry concerns about CSA.

In the Small Business Committee meeting, concerns were raised about the data quality FMCSA uses for CSA. Similarly, concerns were raised about the fact that crash accountability was not being considered in the Crash Indicator. SBC chair, Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo. voiced his concern about carriers being attributed crashes that were not their fault.

Unlike the SBC, however, the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit has direct control over FMCSA. This meant that the stakes were higher; if the committee is not happy about what they hear, consequences were possible.

Bipartisan Criticism

Perhaps acknowledging that this meeting may have more of an effect on CSA’s future than the previous one, FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro, personally attended the meeting. She was in for a rough ride as both Republicans and Democrats lashed out at the program.

“It’s been just a little over two years since — prior to [CSA’s] implementation — we held a hearing in this subcommittee regarding this new system, and at that time we expressed a number of concerns that still endure,” Rep. Peter DeFazio D-Ore. complained.

Particular concern was levied against the controversial scoring of carriers with crashes that were not deemed their fault. Currently, FMCSA gives the carrier similar scores for those crashes as for crashes where the carrier was at fault.

This, it has been argued, falsely gives the carrier a bad reputation. For its part, FMCSA insists that even with crashes that are not the carrier’s fault, just being involved in an accident makes the carrier statistically more likely to be in another accident.

“I’m still finding it hard to believe … I’m still having trouble with the validity of that conclusion of the study,” DeFazio said.

GAO Report

Rep. Don Young, R-AK was more direct in his criticism. Young complained that FMCSA was not listening to carriers and other stakeholders that were making valid points about flaws in the system. His frustration seemed to boil over when Ferro repeatedly claimed that the system was ‘sound’

“Then why are we having this hearing if it’s so sound? Someone doesn’t think it’s so sound,” Young said. “There are complaints, I have complaints. There is a reason for those complaints.”

Young went on to request that the Government Accountability Office investigate the CSA system. “It is our job to review and see if there is a problem. And if there is a problem, you will fix it. If you don’t, we will,” Young told Ferro.

The GAO acts as an investigative arm of the Congress. If the inquiry is authorized, the GAO will take a detail-level look at CSA and its state partners and report its findings back to Congress. While not binding, GAO reports are highly influential. A number of high profile transportation regulation changes have occurred after the GAO has become involved. Young has said that he will continue to request the GAO investigation.

Transportation Ticker

Pass Your Audit With These Record Rules. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires motor carriers to keep records to document compliance with the safety regulations. This documentation must be retained for varying lengths of time as established by the applicable regulations. This post discusses some of these recordkeeping requirements and was written to help carriers purge their files on a regular basis.

Organized Files Streamline Audits

During Safety Audits and Compliance Reviews, auditors will carefully comb through all the paperwork in your DOT compliance records...

For more on this story and for the rest of the industry news visit

Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • • Vol. 112, No. 755 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2012


DOT Announces $59.3 Million for Clean, Energy-Efficient Transit Projects

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced that 27 projects will receive a combined $59.3 million to help transit agencies purchase and support cleaner, greener buses that reduce harmful emissions and improve fuel economy while also delivering a more comfortable, reliable ride for passengers. The funds from the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) FY 2012 Clean Fuels Grant Program will help achieve President Obama’s goal for an independent and secure energy future.

“President Obama is committed to investing in sustainable transportation systems that improve access to jobs, education and medical care for millions of riders, while bringing cleaner air to our communities and reducing our dependence on oil,” said Secretary LaHood. “These projects will also help transit agencies operate more efficiently, and save money in the long run.”

The types of projects selected to receive funding include replacing aging diesel buses with new hybrid-electric, compressed natural gas (CNG) or zero-emissions electric vehicles; building new fueling stations to accommodate alternative-fuel vehicles; and purchasing new clean-fuel hybrid batteries for buses.

“As more and more Americans choose to ride the bus to work and elsewhere, it’s good to know that they can depend on vehicles that won’t pollute their neighborhoods while also helping us to achieve greater energy independence,” said FTA Administrator Rogoff. “By investing in these clean-fuel projects today, we’re helping to ensure that the nation’s transit services are good for the environment for years to come.”

Demand for FY2012 funding was competitive, with FTA receiving 146 project applications totaling $516 million. A list of all 27 project selections, and a related map, can be found here:

Some projects selected for funding include:

$3.3 million for the St. Cloud Metropolitan Transit Commission in St. Cloud, Minnesota to renovate its Metro Bus Operations Center so the facility can accommodate a fleet of compressed natural gas (CNG) fueled vehicles and a CNG fueling station.

$4.4 million for the Transit Authority of River City in Louisville, Kentucky, to replace outdated, high-emission trolley cars with zero-emission buses, which will bring the transit system into compliance with federal clean air requirements for the first time and enable the transit authority to save on operating costs for years to come.

$2.5 million for Florida’s Miami-Dade County to retrofit older buses with new electric engine cooling systems that will improve fuel economy, reduce emissions, and prolong the life of the transit bus fleet; and

$4.5 million for the Worcester Regional Transit Authority in Worcester, Massachusetts, to replace aging diesel transit buses with zero-emission, all-electric buses, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, decrease fuel consumption, and save on operating costs.

In FY 2010 and FY 2011, FTA’s Clean Fuels Program awarded $89.7 million for 36 projects and $62.8 million for 29 projects, respectively. This year’s projects were competitively selected based on their ability to help communities achieve or maintain the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone and carbon monoxide while supporting emerging clean fuel and advanced propulsion technologies for transit buses.

Transit ridership across the U.S. has increased 16 out of the last 19 months, and in July 2012, ridership was up by 2.5 percent over the prior 12-month period.


Rebuilding the American Dream, One Truck Driver at a Time

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by Michael J. Hinz
Vice President, Driver Recruiting, Schneider National Inc.

As America slowly pulls itself out of a recession, high unemployment levels remain in many areas. But there is at least one industry in the U.S., one I am most familiar with, that is growing and has a shortage of workers: trucking.

Many industry analysts project the current shortage of truck drivers at 130,000 nationally, and growing. The truck driver shortage will continue to grow due to a number of reasons, primarily a large number of upcoming retirements and the fact that more drivers will be needed to haul more goods as the economy rebounds. More than 70 percent of freight in the U.S. is delivered to retailers and manufacturers by truck. Just about everything you buy, consume, use or wear is delivered by a truck driver.

Building a strong pipeline of skilled workers must be a priority for businesses; our future growth and success depends on it. That is why Schneider National recently joined forces with Olive-Harvey College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago, to take a major step toward reversing this trend and replenishing the ranks of commercial drivers and transportation professionals in Illinois.

Truck driving jobs today are not what they once were, when drivers were gone for weeks at a time driving uncomfortable trucks. In fact, 75 percent of Schneider National's drivers get home at least weekly. Schneider's drivers also operate state-of-the-art trucks with in-cab technology that provides Internet access and detailed directions to pick-up/delivery locations at the touch of a finger.

In six to eight weeks, students at the City Colleges of Chicago can go from unemployed or underemployed to great new careers that offer complete benefits, retirement plans and steady paychecks -- earning $50,000 or more per year in a short time. For a relatively small investment of time and tuition, students can earn credentials for a job that is in high demand, can never be outsourced and has room for advancement. (See the video below profiling Kenneth Washington, a recent Olive-Harvey graduate and a new Schneider driver.) Many drivers move on and become small business owners by purchasing their own truck and leasing with a trucking company such as Schneider as an owner-operator. A new job that is in high demand with a great chance for immediate placement after graduating, benefits, great pay and the opportunity for advancement to a small business owner... now that's the American Dream.

Our partnership with community colleges is growing and we are excited to be part of something new. Schneider National, along with other transportation leaders, is currently working with City Colleges of Chicago to create a new standard in quality transportation training and education. The new Transportation, Distribution & Logistics Center at the City Colleges of Chicago will be a prototype for training in our industry. Preparing students for careers in ground, air and rail transport, multi-modal distribution and logistics, it will be the first comprehensive education center for the transportation industry in Illinois.

Industry experts working in the field, including Schneider National, will visit the new center to help teach and train students. Industry partners are also well positioned to offer tools and equipment that might be a challenge to come by otherwise. For example, Schneider has donated a truck for student practice. These investments will ensure lesson plans stay current and match the needs and conditions of the industry. Students will learn skills that can be used in multiple career pathways.

As an industry, we cannot sit back and wait for these opportunities to be handed to us. We must get out there and work with community colleges to ensure we have the workforce we need to thrive and grow. We must also have the facilities and programs needed to offer continuing education to our workers so they can move up the career ladder.

There are hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs available in trucking today. We need these private/public partnerships to help put Americans back to work so they can provide for themselves and their families.

To learn more about Schneider National's job opportunities, visit or call 1-800-44-PRIDE.