The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has awarded nearly $2.3 million in grants to train veterans and their families as truck and bus drivers.

The funds were given to 13 technical and community colleges across the country and were provided through FMCSA’s Commercial Motor Vehicle - Operator Safety Training grant program.

FMCSA awards these grants to educational institutions that provide truck driving training including public and private colleges, universities, vocational-technical schools, post-secondary educational institutions, truck driver training schools, associations, and state and local governments.

“One of the most important, fastest growing employment sectors is for qualified commercial vehicle drivers,” said Anthony Foxx, Transportation Secretary. “Veterans bring invaluable experience to the industry and can enter the workforce quickly.”

Individual amounts ranged as high as $200,000, with the North Carolina Department of Transportation and Central Technical Center in Oklahoma receiving the max.

The program was established by Congress in 2005 to expand the number of CDL holders possessing enhanced operator safety training as a way to reduce the severity and number of crashes involving trucks and buses.

State licensing agencies have the 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 with a military truck or bus.

“We doubled the amount we have previously provided through this grant program because of the important role qualified commercial truck and bus drivers hold in moving our economy forward,” said Scott Darling, FMCSA acting administrator. “The men and women who complete these commercial driver training programs also serve our country in a vital way by making safety their top priority every mile, every day.”