DOL and FASTPORT Innovate National Standard of Apprenticeship for Truck Drivers

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Furthering its effort to lower the barriers of entry for those eager to begin careers in transportation as professional truck drivers, FASTPORT has created a National Standard of Apprenticeship that was approved by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) this week. This approval comes on the heels of the DOL selecting FASTPORT as the transportation industry intermediary partner for increasing apprenticeship opportunities across a variety of industry-wide sectors.

Nearly all sectors of the American economy are facing complex workforce challenges in increasingly competitive domestic and global markets, and transportation is no exception. According to the DOL and countless employers, providing apprenticeship opportunities is a way to counter that challenge and improve the recruiting, training, and retention of world-class talent.

While apprenticeships are a time-tested model for successfully recruiting and training highly skilled and motivated employees, they currently play a small role in the job training process for the U.S. population, with about 450,000 Registered Apprenticeships available to applicants. Compared to other industrialized countries, this is stark underutilization of the “earn and learn” training method, which is especially damaging to employers when we take the positive effects of apprenticeships into account. For just a few of the great outcomes that occur when apprenticeships are a part of your company’s training method, please read the infographic below.

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Because of these incredible benefits, President Barack Obama signed the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) on July 22, 2014 to expand apprenticeship opportunities, creating a channel for American employers to prepare an educated and skilled workforce.

“At the heart of our Nation's promise lies a simple truth:  If you work hard you can get ahead, earn a decent-paying job, and secure a brighter future for yourself and your family.  To make this promise real, our economy has to work for everyone, and that begins with providing all our people with the tools and resources they need to utilize their unique talents to contribute to our country's success.  Apprenticeships offer this opportunity,” said President Obama.

WIOA provides a critical support structure to employers who want to develop apprenticeship programs to train new employees to prepare for high-skilled and in-demand careers necessary for the 21st century economy.

To maximize the national goal to expand apprenticeship opportunities and provide real economic choice to Veterans, FASTPORT proposed the National Standard CDL Apprentice Program to the DOL that would link existing apprenticeship programs in the trucking industry and enable more to be created under one umbrella.

FASTPORT’s first approved National Standard CDL Apprenticeship Program will help employ more professional truck drivers in the trucking industry. The transportation industry employs 1 out of 14 working Americans, and the industry continues to grow due to economic demand. To keep up with growth, American Trucking Association’s Chief Economist Bob Costello forecasts that the trucking industry must fill an estimated 89,000 professional driving positions per year for the next decade, and this apprenticeship will seek to fulfill that need by sourcing large numbers of Veterans and qualifying them for the industry’s highly skilled professional truck driving roles.

"The DOL's historic decision to utilize FASTPORT’s Veteran hiring ecosystem is going to do more than help attract the military community into the transportation careers—this public-private partnership will help Veterans see the incredible job potential in transportation, bypass barriers to entry, train while getting paid, and transition into a high-skilled career,” said FASTPORT President Brad Bentley. “We are absolutely thrilled with the DOL's decision to support FASTPORT and leading trucking industry employers’ efforts to employ more Veterans under the National Standards of Apprenticeship for professional truck drivers.”

FASTPORT is in a unique position to interface with the trucking industry through its strategic alliances with the National Association Of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools (NAPFTDS) that represents 115 community colleges with CDL credentialing programs. FASTPORT has also established a Veteran hiring process for over 100 trucking employers over the past three years who have collectively pledged to hire more than 50,000 Veterans and will help them in founding their new Registered Apprenticeship program or supporting their current initiative.

By empowering CDL schools and trucking companies to instill apprentices with advanced skills and grow their workforce, a National Standard CDL Registered Apprenticeship Program has the potential to overcome Veteran underemployment and unemployment. In addition, with locations in every state, the apprenticeship will impact and benefit more Veterans more quickly because it opens up the entire industry, not just one school or one employer. The approval of this innovative National Standard CDL Apprenticeship by the DOL will certainly help the trucking industry secure more professional truck drivers and ease the acute shortage of drivers.

In addition to attracting new candidates to the trucking industry, this national standard will also help companies increase retention throughout their programs and increase their competitiveness. Since FASTPORT’s national standard is an DOL-approved program, it is automatically approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs as well, qualifying your candidates to receive GI Benefits that are available to post-9/11 Veterans. These funds come to Veterans who enter into approved on-the-job training (OJT) programs officially recognized by the VA, such as this national standard. The average pay for this is $1,500 per month. The GI Benefits provided due to your OJT program will distinguish your company from the competition and tremendously help Veterans as they train to become the next generation of incredible professional drivers.

To make that vision a reality, FASTPORT needs innovative companies who are ready to lead the trucking industry in apprenticeship programs and to hire more of our Veterans. Both employers and CDL training academies can learn more and register to be part of the apprenticeship program by visiting