A new public-private program will address a shortage of long-distance moving van drivers by offering free training to qualified Kentucky and southern Indiana residents.

Graduates of the three-week course will receive Registered American Moving Professionals certification, a new credential created by the American Moving & Storage Association, the national trade association for professional moving industry.

"Our members are clamoring to hire the men and women who complete the RAMP program," said Linda Bauer Darr, AMSA president and CEO.

AMSA members committing to hire graduates include A. Arnold Moving, Armstrong Relocation & Companies, Coleman American Moving Services, J.K. Moving Services, Margarets Moving & Storage and Tri City Van & Storage.

The first class, set to begin next month at Jefferson Community and Technical College in Louisville, Ky., has space for up to 100 students chosen from residents in a 26-county region along the I-65 corridor in Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

"These are solid, good-paying jobs that are badly needed by the moving industry and certainly much-needed by our citizens," said Louisville Mayor Greg E. Fischer said.

Fisher spoke at a news conference attended by U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth and other civic leaders to unveil the new program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Investment Act, KY WINS and a grant from the National Fund for Workforce Solutions.

Applicants must complete a career assessment to see if they are suited to the work. They also will undergo drug screening and a criminal background check.

More info at www.kentuckianaworks.org/ramp or call KentuckianaWorks at (502) 574-4723.