Recently Mike O’Connell received an invitation to the Veterans Transportation Career Opportunities Forum. Mike and Cheryl Hanley asked John Diab and Cindy Atwood to attend in his place.
The forum focused on careers in the trucking, transit, and motor coach sectors. Participants discussed the importance of working with truck and bus companies to recruit qualified and safety-conscious Veterans for the critical jobs that need to be filled. The DOT is striving to remove barriers that stand in the way of our veterans’ success and connecting them with job opportunities that they deserve. This meeting gave motor carriers and other stakeholders a chance to tell DOT and DOL how they can assist in making the transition for veterans easier.
Together, DOT and Veterans Affairs have launched the Veterans Transportation Career Center, a web site to help veterans find jobs in the private sector. On this site, veterans can learn what training and certification are needed for civilian jobs, determine what career fits best with their background, and search for available jobs in their field. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is doing what it can to make obtaining a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) easier for veterans with military driving experience.
In May, FMCSA proposed a rule allowing states to waive the CDL skills test for military drivers with two years of safe driving experience. Today, 39 states are offering or preparing to offer this option, and DOT is encouraging the other states to do the same.
The latest transportation bill, MAP-21, requires DOT and FMCSA to examine the gaps between military training and the requirements for a CDL. This study will provide us with the information needed need to work with the military and the states to fill those gaps.
There are significant grants available from DOL and DOT that CVTA members are not currently able to access. There was an indication that privately owned schools were not held in the same esteem as Community Colleges. CVTA is striving to change the perception with the Departments of Labor and Transportation.
Our friends from ATA specifically Boyd Stephenson did a wonderful job of supporting CVTA and its members schools. His comments were very favorable and we believe had an impact on the group. We thank Boyd and ATA for their continued support.
The session ended with a commitment to work together. We all realize that providing opportunities to talented and skilled veterans is essential to strengthening America’s transportation system. The DOT promised will continue to work with an ever increasing wide range of partners to help veterans find success in transportation fields.