Two Maryland Schools Receive Federal CDL Grants
[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]
Underscoring the suitability of military veterans to mitigate a national truck driver shortage, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg joined Maryland’s Gov. Wes Moore and others to announce a pair of federal grants totaling $371,050 to two community colleges for commercial driver license training.
Ceremonial checks were presented Oct. 11 for $173,640 to Prince George’s Community College and $197,410 for the Community College of Baltimore County after Buttigieg and others toured the CDL instruction facility at PGCC in Largo, Md., a suburb of Washington.
“This is a great day for us because we believe in community colleges. We believe in veterans and we believe in the importance of trucking for the country, for our economic security and for our future,” Buttigieg said. “Our department estimates that hundreds of thousands of drivers are leaving this vital profession every year, which has two implications. First, we can and must step up our efforts to support this profession and two, we have to step up our efforts to call more people into it because these are literally the workers who keep our nation moving.”
The grants will provide no-cost training for students, especially military veterans and their families, he added, noting that the funds are paying for a new generation of vital jobs.
Moore said, “We’re here to celebrate the fact that what this investment is going to do today, it’s going to give us an opportunity to make sure that people can get a good-paying job, to have a chance to sustain their families and a chance to be able to fulfill their dreams, and know that they’re coming up in an institution, in a state and in a country that supports that and makes it easier and doesn’t make it harder.”
Dr. Sherrie Johnson, PGCC vice president of external affairs, communications and advancement, said the funding will help students interested in careers in the transportation industry. She noted that 300 students have enrolled since July 1, and more than 500 students received training during fiscal 2023 in PGCC’s transportation, distribution and logistics departments.
We're funding training for veterans and those from underserved communities to start new, good-paying careers in trucking. Proud to join @GovWesMoore and @PatrickMurphyPA at Prince George's Community College to highlight this good work today. pic.twitter.com/rFHz1xjhDm — Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) October 11, 2023
One recent graduate on the podium for the ceremony was 70-year-old James Brackin, a retired postal worker and U.S. Army veteran who received financial help to earn a Class A CDL to complete a personal project to build affordable homes in his Louisiana hometown.
“While serving in the military and serving as a civilian truck driver are different, they’re not that different in the specific sense that lives depend on people safely doing that job every single day,” Buttigieg said, recalling his military service. “The kinds of people who have worn our country’s uniform are among the kinds of people we need to be calling into this vitally important work [and] among a whole range of Americans who could benefit from the great career opportunities that trucking offers and meet a vital national need.”
Trimble CEO Rob Painter discusses the company’s continued investment in the freight transportation industry and its vision for a more connected supply chain. Tune in above or by going to RoadSigns.ttnews.com.
The federal funds came from DOT’s Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Safety Training Program, which provides financial resources for CDL training that gives priority to veterans, including National Guard members, reservists and military family members. Under the bipartisan infrastructure law, the program was allocated $3.2 million for fiscal 2023. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration stated it expected to award 15 grants, and the grant has a $200,000 cap for an individual award. Eligible applicants include public and state higher educational institutions, cities/townships/counties, small businesses, state governments and nonprofits.
“I would challenge everybody to do the next time you see a truck go by on the road is to remember that that vehicle isn’t just delivering sweaters or cereal or TV sets. It’s delivering prosperity,” Buttigieg said. “It’s delivering the needed access to supply chains that is a very important part of our fight against inflation, and it is delivering opportunity to that qualified person behind the wheel.”
Attendees also heard about the prior military service of Moore, who was flanked by former Rep. Patrick Murphy. Both served in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. Murphy, whose father and grandfather were both military veterans and truckers, noted, “We’re about 80,000 truck drivers short, and they’re critical.”
Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing below or go here for more info: