WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Alex Padilla (D-CA.) recently introduced legislation to ensure veterans’ GI benefits can be utilized at new branches of commercial driving program (CDL) schools whose primary institutions have already received regulatory approval. Currently if an approved trucking school opens a secondary facility in a new location, existing laws require that Veterans Affairs and state regulators must deny the branch’s ability to receive GI benefits for two years.
“Veterans have already given so much for our country – the last thing they need is more frustrating red tape that prevents them from pursuing a career that is essential to our modern economy. These technical changes will reverse unnecessary regulations and allow more veterans to take advantage of their GI benefits,” said Senator Fischer, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee.
“Our veterans deserve access to resources and opportunities to support themselves and their families after serving. This bill not only supports our servicemembers by expanding work opportunities, it would also help keep goods moving throughout our nation as we continue to face supply chain challenges. And it will expand their veterans’ GI Bill benefits to help them pursue educational and career training opportunities, while maintaining strong accrediting standards for institutions,” said Senator Padilla.
“The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is proud to lend its support to this proposal for veterans seeking commercial driver education programs. This bill could help reduce nationwide supply chain shortages and veteran underemployment. The VFW thanks Senators Fischer and Padilla for their bipartisan efforts to address this multifaceted challenge,” said MaCherie Dunbar, Associate Director of VFW’s National Legislative Service.
“This legislation is a win-win. It supports our nation’s heroes in their pursuit of rewarding careers as they transition out of military service, and it expands our industry’s access to this exceptional pool of talent as we need to hire 1.1 million new drivers over the next decade. We thank Senators Fischer and Padilla for standing with America’s veterans and the men and women who keep our economy rolling,” said Chris Spear, American Trucking Associations President & CEO.
“Werner Enterprises is a strong advocate for legislative changes that help military veterans pursue new career opportunities as professional truck drivers,” said Gregory Hamm, Werner Enterprises VP of Field & Government Recruiting.
The bill has received endorsements from:
Veteran Service Organizations: Veterans of Foreign Wars, Moving Veterans Forward
Labor: International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Trucking Industry: Werner Trucking, American Trucking Association, Commercial Vehicle Training Association, Nebraska Trucking Association
The trucking industry is currently facing an 80,000-driver shortage, which some estimates show could reach 160,000 by 2030. Trucking shortages have a ripple effect throughout our nation’s supply chains, worsening bottle necks and delaying delivery times.
It is estimated that 8,400 commercial driving programs are approved for use by eligible veterans under the GI bill.
The Fischer-Padilla legislation would ensure CDL schools that offer courses at new branches do not have to wait two years if the primary institutions has been approved by the VA and SAA to receive funding. By clarifying this two-year moratorium statute, the bill will allow veterans more accessibility to nearby CDL schools and lead to high paying careers in the industry.
CDL schools must still comply with state and VA rules regarding curriculum standards to ensure no programs are exploiting veterans or offering fraudulent courses.
Click here to read the text of the bill.