Image: U.S. Department of Transportation

Image: U.S. Department of Transportation

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has awarded close to $1 million in grants to seven technical and community colleges to help train military veterans and their families for jobs as commercial truck and bus drivers.

The funding is provided through FMCSA’s Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Safety Training grant program. FMCSA awards CMV-OST grants to educational institutions 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.

“These types of programs are just one small way in which we can show our appreciation and commitment to our nation’s veterans, and thank them for their brave service,” said Anthony Foxx, U.S. Transportation Secretary.  “These men and women represent the absolute finest of our country, and with the help of programs like this, they will be prepared to be some of the safest commercial drivers on the road.”

The 2016 FMCSA grants announced on Oct. 18 are projected to provide training for more than 250 students. 

The awards were made to the following organizations:

  • Illinois – Joliet Junior College, Joliet, $159,800
  • Iowa – Hawkeye Community College, Waterloo, $100,524
  • Kansas – Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, $104,376
  • Oklahoma – Central Technical Center, Drumright, $200,000
  • Oregon – Rogue Community College District, Grants Pass, $71,300
  • Pennsylvania – The Sage Corporation, Camp Hill, $210,980
  • Virginia – Tidewater Community College, Norfolk, $149,967

“We charge each of the institutions that will receive a grant to train those that have served our nation in the armed forces to be the very best professional drivers in the industry,” said Scott Darling, FMCSA Administrator.  “In this profession, being the best requires an absolute commitment to making safety the top priority, and I believe there is no group better prepared to do that than our veterans.”

CMV-OST was established by Congress in 2005 to expand the number of CDL holders possessing enhanced operator safety training to help reduce the severity and number of crashes on U.S. roads involving large commercial vehicles.

In addition to providing grants under the CMV-OST program, FMCSA is proposing to take additional steps that recognize the skills and training obtained by members of the armed services.

Specifically, FMCSA is proposing a three-year pilot program that would allow a limited number of individuals between the ages of 18 and 21 to operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce if they received specified heavy-vehicle driver training while in military service and are sponsored by a participating motor carrier.