FASTPORT joined with trucking industry leadership to meet with representatives from the U.S. Department of Labor’s representatives at the ApprenticeshipUSA Transportation and Logistics Industry Accelerator conference in the effort to establish a consolidated, industry-based apprenticeship program designed to help military Veterans, Guardsmen, and Reservists in the trucking industry nationwide earn while they learn.
As part of the conference, the DOL offered two workshop sessions (truck driving and mechanic apprenticeships) to help employers and intermediaries understand the requirements of a DOL Apprentice program and how to apply for registration.
The DOL Registered Apprenticeship system was formed in 1937 to provide opportunities for workers seeking careers in high-skilled, high-paying jobs and safeguard the welfare of apprentices in the United States. Since it began, Registered Apprenticeship programs have trained millions for gainful employment.
By empowering CDL schools and trucking companies to instill apprentices with advanced skills and grow their workforce, a National Registered Apprenticeship Program has the potential to overcome Veteran underemployment and unemployment in the Veteran community.
Apprenticeships have been tested over centuries and has continued to prove effective. Ancient Egyptian and Babylonians learned by doing and were taught by the experienced workers to become the next generation of craftsmen, and this training model continues today. In fact, in the there has been a major uptick in apprenticeships in the last 20 years worldwide; however, the United States has lagged behind in this trend.
Currently, apprenticeships 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 when the positive effects apprenticeship participants gain are taken into account. For example, those who report participating in apprenticeships earn an average of $300,000 more than their cohort over the lifetime of their careers.
To maximize the DOL’s goal to expand apprenticeship opportunities and provide real economic choice to Veterans, FASTPORT proposed the National CDL Apprentice Program that would link existing apprenticeship programs in the trucking industry and enable more to be created under one umbrella.
With locations in nearly 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.
“With apprenticeship variety, Veterans can choose the right opportunity that meets their and their respective families needs,” said FASTPORT President Brad Bentley, “By uniting, the trucking industry will create a more inclusive apprenticeship model that lowers barrier to entry to skilled and gainful employment for more Veterans.”
Brad continued, “FASTPORT’s strategy has always been to take an industry approach to bringing more Veterans into trucking careers. It’s an honor to not only participate in this groundbreaking DOL event, but to also bring several of our driver training school and trucking company partners to share in the sessions."
John Ladd, Administrator for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship concurred with Brad, stating the DOL "wants to accelerate the learning…[by working with] with centers of excellence where industries can come together" to create more apprenticeship opportunities for Americans. Ladd continued saying to increase the number of apprentices, the Office of Apprenticeship "wants to work with intermediaries to bring industry employers together" to accomplish this goal.
This theme of industry unity continued during the panel dedicated to workforce solutions for the transportation and logistics industry. For example, J.B. Hunt’s Military Recruiting Manager and Program Manager for Hunt’s Heroes Dave Harrison cited the acute driver shortage and recognized that Veterans are ideal candidates for these highly skilled jobs. Dave cautioned the audience that "standing alone, we are not going to fix the problem." He continued by offering a solution: "working on consortium ideas is the only way to solve the challenge.”
"The ApprenticeshipUSA Transportation and Logistics Accelerator Conference was an outstanding informational event," concluded FASTPORT CEO Bill McLennan. “The DOL did a terrific job in explaining the apprentice program, why apprenticeships are critical for business, and demystified the registration process. We look forward to working with the trucking industry to create the most effective and inclusive apprenticeship possible for employers, training academies, and Veterans going forward.”