The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) awarded $1 million in grants to nine technical and community colleges across the country to help train returning military veterans for jobs as commercial bus and truck drivers. The funding is provided through FMCSA’s Commercial Motor Vehicle - Operator Safety Training (CMV-OST) grant program.
“Those that we entrust to protect and serve our nation deserve opportunities that utilize the skills and training they received on the job on military bases overseas and at home,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We can think of none more appropriate to safeguard our highways as commercial vehicle drivers than the thousands of veterans who have already proven they can safely handle large vehicles under extremely stressful circumstances.”
FMCSA 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 funds are used to recruit, train and provide students job placement assistance after graduation.
The CMV-OST program was established by Congress in 2005 through SAFETEA-LU to expand the number of commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders possessing enhanced operator safety training to help reduce the severity and number of crashes on U.S. roads involving large trucks and buses.
In July 2014, 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.
FMCSA also announced this summer that, commencing 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 CDL. FMCSA has encouraged other state licensing agencies to establish comparable equivalency SPE programs.