Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Grants

Background

Congress reauthorized federal workforce programs funded under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) through the passage of the 2014 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). As with WIA, WIOA allocates federal funds to states, which then push these funds into their local workforce through state “one-stop” workforce centers. WIOA funds enable unemployed individuals to receive training in “in-demand” careers.

Over the years, WIA/WIOA grants have allowed thousands of individuals to attend truck driver training schools and begin their careers as commercial drivers. Under WIOA, the “in-demand” occupation requirement requires state and local workforce boards to determine occupations that are in high demand based on local, state, or regional jobs data. In other words, under WIOA, grants will be awarded to pay for training programs only if state and local workforce boards have already determined that the applicant’s target industry has adequate job openings in that state or locality.

CVTA’s Position

CVTA believes lawmakers need to fully fund WIOA programs. WIOA remains a major source of funding to get individuals into trucking. Without robust funding, CVTA fears that less individuals will look to commercial trucking as a career option, thereby exacerbating the driver shortage. Additionally, CVTA is concerned about instances in states where driver training programs are not being classified as “in-demand” occupations. Specifically, CVTA knows of several workforce boards who have chosen not to list trucking as an “in-demand” occupation because it is based solely on local data, despite the national impact of the ongoing driver shortage.

Thus, drivers in these states are denied WIOA grants to attend training because commercial vehicle driving jobs are not “in-demand” when, in fact, plenty of national trucking companies are anxious to hire them. Although WIOA allows state workforce boards to choose which data they will use when determining jobs that are “in-demand”, CVTA fears that too much reliance on state and local data at the expense of national data may unintentionally discriminate against non-domiciled companies.

Furthermore, WIOA program metrics may need to be adjusted to capture those residents who are employed by out of state companies but remain a resident of their state. Otherwise, trucking companies will unduly be punished because they hire in numerous places but may not be headquartered in these states.

To ensure that qualified job seekers in each state have access to driver training programs, it is imperative that all governors and workforce boards understand the current driver shortage and recognize that many trucking companies will hire from any state in the U.S.

Therefore, CVTA urges members of Congress to (1) fully fund WIOA appropriations at authorized levels and (2) be prepared to act – through letters, appropriations, or additional legislation – should this be necessary to ensure that commercial driver training is recognized as an “in-demand” occupation.

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Andrew Poliakoff

Andy Poliakoff is the Executive Director for CVTA. In this role, he promotes the mission of the membership organization and implements goals set by the Board of Directors. This includes forming partnerships with external stakeholders, providing guidance and direction to the CVTA staff team, and engaging with state and federal government agencies to advance CVTA’s mission of safety and career opportunities in the truck driver training industry.

In 2021 and 2022, Andy acted as federal affairs lead for Electrify America, interacting at high levels within Congress, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Department of Energy, and the White House. In that capacity, he played a pivotal role in the optimization of large-scale infrastructure funding at the Federal Highway Administration as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

From 2019 to 2021 Andy served as Director of Gov't Affairs for CVTA and formed a strong bond with members, engaging on advocacy related to Entry-Level Driver Training, Skills Testing Delays, and Workforce funding. During the pandemic, Andy fought at the state and federal level to treat CDL training and testing as the essential services they are. He is personally invested in the important mission of CVTA's members to deliver safe training and to transform people's lives through truck driving careers.

Andy holds a bachelor's degree from Georgetown University and a law degree from the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University.

Cindy Atwood

Cindy Atwood is the Vice President at CVTA. An experienced association professional, Cindy handles all activities related to membership retention, financial accounting and committee engagement. Cindy artfully produces CVTA’s off-site biannual conferences, Hill Day operations and Board meetings, ensuring that the general membership and leadership’s necessities and wishes are met with the highest response.

An essential fixture in the truck driver training association space, Cindy manages CVTA’s Instructor Certification Program and provides critical counsel to new entrants into the truck driver training industry.

Kyle Hayes

Kyle Hayes is the Director of Government Relations at CVTA. In this role, he leads the implementation of the Association’s legislative and regulatory strategy. He is also the primary point of contact between CVTA Members and federal agencies, Congress, and state governments.

Hayes most recently led research projects that supported federal and state advocacy on healthcare and economic issues at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nationally recognized research and policy institute based in Washington D.C. He received a master’s degree in public policy from American University in 2015 and graduated from the University of Georgia in 2012.