Why Campus Tours Are Powerful Advocacy Tools

Aug 10, 2022

To advocate for sensible solutions to industry challenges, lawmakers at every level of government need to understand how particular polices will affect stakeholders so they can best serve their constituents. Although advocacy in Washington is an important piece of shaping legislation, first-hand knowledge is invaluable in terms of educating those in power. While CVTA members have likely been engaged in CDL training for many years, politicians generally are unfamiliar with what it takes to train safe drivers and might not be equipped with the information needed to make the most sensible decisions when passing regulations. CVTA advocacy works because of members who are willing to advocate for themselves and serve as industry experts. One way accomplish this is by hosting a campus tour. This is vitally important to our continued success in Washington as we have found time and time again that these tours are what makes an impression on lawmakers and have lasting impacts.

Campus tours highlight the value of driver training programs, both locally and nationally. They allow CVTA members to show lawmakers why this industry, and in particular, why driver training programs matter. Tours allow members to show how CLD programs take individuals who are unemployed or underemployed, and equip them with the skills necessary to ultimately obtain a stable job. The more lawmakers understand this vital role, the more inclined they will be to help make resolve legislative challenges when they arise.

These tours also allow politicians the opportunity to see how the laws and regulations affect their constituents firsthand. Sadly, regulations that look good on paper do not always translate to real-world success in the transportation industry. By providing lawmakers with specific examples of laws and polices that affect CDL programs- issues like WIOA funding, veteran training programs and ELDT rulemaking- these issues become more than an abstract concept.

Finally, campus tours allow CVTA members to build relationships directly with their legislators. While as an organization CVTA can provide reports, numbers, and statutory positions, nothing is more powerful than putting a face to these proposed policy solutions. Because CVTA members are experts in their field, they are the best advocates of change. We hope that this campus tour is the first of many conversations.

If you are interested in conducting a campus tour, please reach out to info@cvta.org. We will help connect you to an appropriate lawmaker in your area and provide you with any guidance needed to make the tour a success.

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.