The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Tuesday said it awarded $1 million in grants to nine technical and community colleges across the country to help train nearly 400 returning military veterans for jobs as commercial bus and truck drivers. 

The funding is provided through agency’s Commercial Motor Vehicle, Operator Safety Training grant program.

“These unique grants are designed to help recruit, train and place veterans and their spouses in good jobs that are in high demand and in an industry that is vitally important in keeping our national economy moving forward,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling. “Graduates of these training programs are continuing to serve our nation by ensuring that the goods and products we depend on are delivered professionally, efficiently and, most importantly, safely.”

FMCSA said it awards CMV-OST grants to organizations that provide truck driving training, including accredited public or private colleges, universities, vocational-technical schools, post-secondary educational institutions, truck driver training schools, associations, and state and local governments, including federally-recognized Native American tribal governments. 

The awards were made to the following organizations:

  • Florida – South Florida State College, Avon Park, $58,003
  • Illinois – Joliet Junior College, Joliet, $165,800
  • Minnesota – Century College in White Bear Lake, $91,080
  • Missouri – Crowder College, Neosho, Missouri, $72,160
  • Nebraska – Metropolitan Community College, Omaha, $47,614
  • Pennsylvania – Northampton County Area Community College, Bethlehem, $134,400 and The Sage Corporation, Camp Hill, $249,968
  • Texas – Lone Star College-North Harris, Houston, $73,704
  • Virginia – Tidewater Community College, Norfolk, $107,271

The Commercial Motor Vehicle, Operator Safety Training Grant Program was established by Congress in 2005 to expand the number of commercial driver’s license holders possessing enhanced operator safety training to help reduce the severity and number of crashes on U.S. roads involving large trucks and buses, according to FMCSA.

This past July FMCSA announced that the Military Skills Test Waiver Program had been expanded to include all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Under this program, state licensing agencies have authority to waive the skills test portion of the CDL application for active duty or recently separated veterans who possess at least two years of safe driving experience operating a military truck or bus. Waiving the skills test expedites the civilian commercial drivers licensing application process and reduces expenses for qualified individuals and operating costs to state licensing agencies, according to the agency.

FMCSA also announced this summer, beginning with Virginia residents, returning military service personnel who possess a state-issued Skill Performance Evaluation certificate due to a limb impairment will automatically be recognized as equivalent to an FMCSA-issued SPE certificate and allowed to obtain an interstate commercial driver’s license. FMCSA is encouraging other state licensing agencies to establish comparable equivalency SPE programs.