by John Diab, Chairman of CVTA’s Legislative-Regulatory Committee
Last week, 22 CVTA members gathered in Washington, D.C. for CVTA’s 2016 Hill Day. As one of the 11 participants of CVTA’s very first Hill Day just three years ago, I was thrilled to see that CVTA has doubled its number of Hill Day participants in such a short time. More important, over half of those who came were first-time participants.
In total, CVTA was able to meet with over 50 members of Congress in just one day on Capitol Hill. Many of these offices had never heard about CVTA, what our members do, or the value our schools and carriers bring to their districts. Armed with CVTA’s talking points and “real world” experiences, CVTA members focused their meetings on how our commercial driver training schools are training individuals with the skills they need to begin a new and promising career. We also educated lawmakers about the driver training shortage that impacts the carriers our nation’s economy depends upon.
Following this overview of what we do, we outlined what we’ve been doing in Washington to remove unnecessary barriers that keep new drivers from accessing quality training, scheduling CDL tests without delay, and exiting schools with the ability to begin working immediately. We also educated lawmakers about how important it is that trucking be recognized as an “in-demand” profession for purposes of workforce grants. We then asked lawmakers to support us whenever we move forward with bill language that would require all CDL examiners to hold a CDL, and invited lawmakers to visit a CVTA campus or carrier in their district.
This year’s Hill Day was an incredible success. In a single day, we educated nearly 50 key lawmakers about who CVTA is, the value that our schools and carriers bring to their districts through jobs and job training, and what these lawmakers can do to help our businesses and students. Through these conversations, we were also able to build on old relationships with congressional staff and create new ones. Not only do these relationships help to build CVTA’s brand in Washington, but these are also the relationships that our Association depends upon when seeking legislative changes that will benefit our membership.
As I look back at CVTA’s legislative accomplishments over the past few years – particularly our skills testing delays language in the Highway Bill – I am reminded that these accomplishments have been a direct result of the willingness of our members to roll up their sleeves and come out to Washington to tell their lawmakers about what CVTA members need to continue providing jobs and job training in each of these lawmakers’ districts. I want to express my sincere thanks to everyone who dedicated their time and resources to making this event special.
I hope that all of you will consider joining us for this important event next year.
CVTA wishes to thank the Sponsors without whom this event would not happen.
|Dart Transit Company
|Thompson Coburn LLP