Driver apprenticeship programs.
How they work, why they matter.
The FMCSA is accepting applications for the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program, a new endeavor that would allow 18- to 20-year-olds to drive in interstate commerce. Some groups worry about the program’s potential risks. Others like its safety precautions and appeal to younger drivers.
In this webinar, we’ll take a closer look at the pilot program and the value of apprenticeships in general.
You’ll learn more about:
- What apprenticeships are.
- How to use them to develop a younger workforce.
- How the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program works.
- What the program means for road safety and the driver shortage.
- Driver apprenticeship in the construction industry.
- What’s new in apprenticeships for 2023.
Scopelitis Transportation Consulting
Keppler began his 29-year transportation career in the field as an investigator and inspector for the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Motor Carriers (predecessor to the FMCSA).
Executive Director, Workforce Development
Harrison advises employers, associations, and the Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship on the most effective apprenticeship models.
P. Sean Garney
Scopelitis Transportation Consulting
Garney has held transportation roles from top to bottom for the last 20 years. Prior to STC, Garney worked for NIC Federal and served as Director of Safety Policy for the American Trucking Associations (ATA).
Head of Regulatory Affairs
Baskin specializes in safety and compliance issues affecting the transportation industry.
Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to today’s webinar, Driver Apprenticeship Programs, How They Work and Why They Matter. Love to welcome all of you today to the broadcast. We’re looking forward to a very interesting conversation and hopefully a lot of really good information that we’re going to offer here today. So, according to the latest American Trucking Association estimate, U.S. driver shortage stands at 80,000.
0:00 | Steve Keppler
Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to today’s webinar, Driver Apprenticeship Programs, how they work, and why they matter. Love to welcome all of you today to the broadcast. We’re looking forward to a very interesting conversation and hopefully a lot of really good information that we’re going to offer here today. So, according to the latest American Trucking Association estimate, U.S. driver shortage stands at 80,000.
As veteran drivers retire in large numbers and recent high school graduates pursue other careers, the Biden administration is promoting apprenticeships to develop the next generation of talent. At the direction of Congress, the Federal Motor Care Safety Administration is now accepting applications for the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program, a new endeavor that would allow 18 to 20-year adults to drive in interstate commerce.
While some advocacy groups worry about the program’s potential risks, proponents tout its safety precautions and outside-the-box approach to workforce development and to address the shortage. In this webinar, we’ll be taking a closer look at the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Program and the value of apprenticeships in general.
By the end of today’s webinar, we expect you’ll learn what apprenticeships are and how to use them to develop a younger workforce, how FMCSA’s Safe Driver Apprenticeship Program works, and who’s eligible to participate — what the program means for road safety and the driver shortage, what it takes to apply to the program, how apprenticeships could apply to the construction industry, and what’s coming in 2023. So I thought we’d start with a little poll for everyone that’s on the line today.
So we’ve got a couple of questions. So I just launched the poll here. So the first question is which industry are you a part of? If you take the time to go ahead and select the poll questions for all the audience that’s here with us today. We’ve got four options: trucking, distribution, construction, other. Looks like so far. We’ve got 100% on trucking, 17% other. All right, there we go. Okay, very good. So it looks like we’ve got about 80%, 82% trucking, 18% other.
Let’s go ahead to the next question. Do you currently have a driver apprenticeship program in your fleet? Yes or no? So so far, it looks like we’ve got the folks that have voted 100% do already. Any other thoughts from anyone?
Okay, well, we’ll also share the results of this when we’re done for everybody, just so you’re aware. Looks great. 70% but still 22% Yes, 78%. No, great. So hopefully, you’ll get a chance to learn more today. So all right. So let’s go to the next question.
Do you have do you use dash cams in your fleet? This could be forward facing, inward facing, or both. It’s like the internet’s a little slow distributing the poll out to everybody. Here we go. Starting to get some responses in now. All right. It’s like we’ve got 75% Yes, 20–25% No. Okay. Very good. Okay.
Let’s do the last poll here. So which other safety technologies do you use? Last question was about dash cams. This one’s a little bit more. It’s distributing it out. A couple of options here for you. All right, poll seems to be a little bit delayed and getting distributed out to everybody.
Here we go. Responses coming in now. All right. Looks like split pretty evenly between collision mitigation, rearview, and 360 cameras, and other. A little bit more on the other side. Great. All right. Very good. Fantastic. Well, thanks, everybody.
We appreciate you participating in that brief poll interactive. We’ll go ahead and make sure to get this out to everybody once we finish up today’s webinar. So I think without further ado, let’s go ahead and get into introducing our panelists and starting the webinar. So my name is Steve Keppler. I’m co-director of Scopelitis Transportation Consulting. Sean.
5:38 | Sean Gurney
First time in a webinar. There we go. So I’m glad I figured that out. My name is Sean Gurney. I’m the other half of this co-directorship here at Scopelitis Transportation Consulting. And I guess we’ll pass it over to Travis now. He’s out there somewhere.
6:02 | Travis Baskin
Yes, I am. And I’m very proud to not have the first technical glitch honor. I am Travis Baskin. I’m the head of regulatory affairs here at Motive. And I can I can certify that that is, in fact, my picture. I’ve just enjoyed the pandemic.
6:33 | Dave Harrison
Hello, my name is Dave Harrison, executive director for Workforce Development and Government Relations. I also serve on the White House Truck Driver Shortage Task Force as well as Supply Chain Task Force. And, I manage the Department of Labor contracts as the designated intermediary for the transportation distribution logistics sector for registered friendship across the nation. And this is my picture as well, in case you couldn’t tell.
7:02 | Steve Kepler
So I think you’re not you’re not that busy, are you, Dave?
7:06 | Dave Harrison
No, no, I’m not. I have nothing to do all day. As a matter of fact, I get hammock marks on my back because I sit around and do nothing. Yeah, Steve, as you know, we’re nearing 20,000 apprentices in the TDL sector. We’re onboarded every major institution or organization association involved in the trucking apparatus and everything else we’re doing something with or we have a national standard exists with. So we have a lot happening. We’re traveling, we’re road warriors. And there’s a lot going on, but it’s all positive things.
7:43 | Steve Kepler
Well, and I think I say that in jest because you’re right. I mean this issue is really taking things by storm. And you are a big part of getting this out. And we appreciate you and Travis taking the time today to talk to us.
So I think the agenda we’re going to cover today is just a couple of key points. We’re going to talk a little bit about apprenticeships. Dave’s going to give a little bit of information there and how fleets can use them. Travis is going to talk a little bit about FMCSA’s program. And we’re going to have a nice open conversation about what this all means and about the construction industry and then really kind of looking ahead to what’s coming down the pike.
So again, if you have questions, feel free to put them in the chat box and we will try to get to them as soon as we can. We do have time at the end for questions, so feel free. We’ll monitor them throughout, and we’ll certainly try to get to them the best we can at the end. So with that, let’s go ahead and Dave, why don’t you kick us off?
8:41 | Dave Harrison
Well, and I’d like everybody to understand that ultimately what a registered apprenticeship program is as it relates to an employer and what value it has before I go through all the slides is it’s a recruiting retention tool. If you’re already effectively training people in occupation and discipline, it shouldn’t restructure what your ROI is from what you’re doing immensely.
As a matter of fact, it should be a minimal cost if it’s set up right and there’s engagement platforms that do that to where it has minimal touchpoints, but it also serves if you’re not training and so many employers that I’m working with now weren’t training a year ago. Now they are because they have to grow their own as a blueprint to help do that — and to do that in such a way that limits liability and provides a standard of training that is universally recognized.
That being said, registered apprenticeships is an earn while you learn. It’s a paid job. It does combine technical instruction with OJT and there’s a lot of different ways that looks. It’s not one answer to any one question. I will tell you that as we deal with employers, and all scale of employers, it’s a one-sock-fits-all, but we adjust the sock accordingly. So it’s very, very agile if it’s applied correctly and that’s really what we do as intermediaries.
There are mentorships within it. There’s a direct relationship where someone is training on the job or earn while you learn. That comes from someone who works on that in that capacity. Links do vary and we’ll talk a little bit more about that. Results are industry recognized and portable. Look, we have an alignment registered apprenticeship that has a training assessment tool or training plan, if you will, that has this exact same alignment with what the FMCSA says a professional truck driver is. It also aligns with ELDT, but also aligns with the Department of Labor, also aligns with the DOD IMAP — three federal agencies.
What’s important is the ATA, the TCA, the Trucking Alliance, the Next Generation Trucking, North American Punjabi Trucking, Minoru Professional Truck Association, and 20 other organizations have adopted that same standard. Now you have real alignment for the first time in the history of our industry. So it is industry-recognized, it’s industry-vetted. When we build new occupations, we vet them with industry.
There’s more than 3,000 current occupations being utilized for apprenticeships, and it’s not, you know, if you’re thinking that it is bricklayers and welders the same way I did more than a decade ago when I first got the apprenticeship on the private sector side, you’re wrong. It is a multitude, it’s a no-caller space anymore, and we can talk that at length later. As far as the $1.47 for every dollar invested, you can go to apprenticeship.gov, it’ll show you where they got those numbers from. That right there really is a dollar investment if you’re building a training platform that doesn’t exist.
If you’re not building a training platform, it already exists, then you’re talking about a different kind of ratio, and quite often it’s very high, and a lot of it has to do with the retention. It’s a recruiting retention tool, and if you can improve your retention. Truck drivers, we know churn is very hard. You got 23,000 apprenticeship programs out there, and 94%, 93% to 94%, depending on the ratio, are with their same employers at the end of the apprenticeship period. Some of those apprenticeships are three, four years long. Truck drivers are usually one to two, but that is significant. That right there alone is an ROI, regardless.
Next slide, please. Yeah, as far as the registered apprenticeship background, I’m not going to read all this to you, but the bottom line is, in 1937, this thing started. It’s not new. It is the gold standard for workforce development. If it’s applied correctly, and it can be, and modified per employer need, regardless of whatever situation this employer is in, it is very effective and proven to be very effective. The 85th anniversary of the Fitzgerald Act just came out. That was a significant celebration. By the way, the picture you’re seeing, I was physically there. That was in April.
That was the announcement of the closure of the 90-day trucking challenge posted by the Biden-Harris administration, where we played the specific role for all registered apprenticeship services. We’re over 800 entities across the nation. Additionally, that also was the announcement of a task force movement, which is focusing on veterans entering the TDL space, and is going to expand into other segments, if you will, although integration across the scale is universal now. I will note that it says task force intermediary for the Department of Labor.
We are the designated intermediary for the Department of Labor. There are 27 state agencies or state-approving agencies that are separate from OA. However, we all work under some of the same guidance and under 29 CFR. We also do reciprocity with those state agencies. Just because your corporate headquarters may be in a state agency state doesn’t mean you can’t do national program work or we can’t interface. We do this on a daily basis. Please don’t segment that out, especially when you can get services that will exponentially move this forward in your own formatting.
When they say historically military has been the focus in the trucking sector, that is the case. That’s where it was driven from originally because I cannot underscore this point. There is a GI Bill benefit that’s available for someone going to work for you as an employer if you’re a registered apprenticeship provider. It’s over and above the pay that you’re paying them. You don’t have to account for it within your own finance accounting folks.
You account for the number of hours that that service member worked monthly, 12 times a year, and it goes direct deposit straight to them. It averages a little, $1,500 a month, depending across the nation, because it’s based off location. But it’s a huge recruiting retention tool that happens to build into diversity and inclusion. I can go into more on that later, especially if someone wants to discuss it individually. But it historically does.
But what we’ve found, if you take the 20,000 apprentices, that are near 20,000, we’ll be over 20,000 next week, about 26% are military, which is huge, given the military percentage of the population. But what we found is even companies who engage in that platform, expand that platform universally, because too much to be gained by it.
Next slide, please. Benefits of apprenticeship. You know, the access to a network of expertise and customer service support, that’s no charge. That’s the benefits, specifically if you’re working with an intermediary like us. If you go it alone, it’s a little different. But, you know, again, I’m not going to go too far in the weeds with that.
I’m more than willing to discuss that with any single employer, because we literally, as intermediaries, I talk to employers A, B, C. Employer A’s situation is different from Bs and Cs, and we’re going to tailor what is most effective for A, and then most effective for B, and most effective for C. But as a general rule, that’s what you’re looking at. It also gives you a pipeline access that you otherwise don’t necessarily have.
Apprenticeship.gov, you can post jobs for free, the pools for the NLX, and candidates can go there and find you. And so, it’s just another, it’s a free sourcing for candidates that you don’t have. Plus, there’s some other sourcing for candidates that exist in space. Again, I’m not going to go too far in the weeds with that. Access to funding and other resources and federal programs.
If you’re a registered apprenticeship provider, you qualify to be on the eligible trainer provider list by state, and you can do this based off … there’s about 50 ways of working this. But that puts you in line for WIOA funds, talent pipeline grants, hope grants, … various things. Now, I’m not telling every single one of you that every single apprentice is going to be paid for or anything like that, because I don’t control the dollars. And WIOA dollars have local web boards that have various rules and other things.
All I can tell you is, if you don’t get inside the dance, you’re not going to dance with anybody. And to get inside the dance registered apprenticeship is the magic answer for an employer. It gets you in the door for the conversation. And just because something’s not available today doesn’t mean it won’t be available tomorrow. So you want to be part of that conversation.
You don’t want to chase it once it comes out, because you’ll never be there on time. Other people, other players in space, there’s a finite set of money when something gets released. And you don’t want to say all of a sudden, I need to be part of this, because, by the time you’ve been part of it, the money’s gone. So be a player if you’re interested in those things. Nobody says you have to take the money. Nobody says you have to live by the rules.
But if you’re not a player, you won’t ever get access to it. And there is a portable credential for all apprentices. The other benefits really come down to recruiter retention. And we’ve already seen that. And we talked about that.
Next slide, please. Quick numbers, you know, 93%, we saw early 94%. It depends on if there’s a tracking ratio that 93%, 92 to 93 are there up to nine months to a year later, up to 94% are there around 94%, 93 to 94 are there and up to the end of the apprenticeship. A $28 benefit for every dollar invested by the government, that’s minimal. In certain spaces like the TDL space, quite frankly, we’ve been very, very effective.
You know, if you look at the per-dollar investment, we’re really producing a lot of results. So the numbers would be higher in the TDL space. You know, as far as the ROI, it’s $1.47 for every dollar spent. There’s some data and real data that shows that some employer partners are realizing a lot more than that.
There’s a list of things that happen that affect your company. And I will say this from an employer standpoint, and I come from the private sector. I’m not a bureaucrat. I’m not an academic. I work for a small company called JB Hunt Transport. I built the first national program for truck drivers underneath the Modernization of Apprenticeship Act. And I come from that reference.
Literally how I got into this position was being frustrated by trying to make the system work, and basically jumping up and down until a bureaucrat said, you know, we don’t know the answers to this, and we don’t know how to talk business. And that kind of led to this intermediary process, et cetera. What I will tell you is that if you’re looking to engage universally in a platform that gives you a safer workforce that is more professional, and performs at a higher level, and has a recruiting and retention apparatus to it, that’s really where apprenticeship lives.
Next slide. Create a diverse and highly skilled workforce. We’ve seen that across the board. Right now, we’re running at 56% DNI across 20,000 people. And that has to do with how it’s engaged, because engaging in a large-scale format doesn’t require reinventing wheels, necessarily. It acquires a rising tide, lifts all boats, modality. Improved productivity, I’ve just talked about that a little bit. Staff orders, retention, it’s proven in this operational space, but across the TDL and all occupations, really.
Flexible training options, we tailor according to your need. I’ve got everything from flatbed carriers, tank carriers, union, non-union, everything else, all underneath the same umbrellas operating independently with their own autonomy. And so, that’s really what it’s like. Minimize liability costs.
I will tell you that this universal engagement across the board where you have three federal agencies and all these industry associations that have agreed on what a standard really is, that we’ve actually had carriers go in and one, reduce insurance costs because they’ve gone to the insurance and challenged them.
We’ve had them do that. And you have a measure of liability protection. If you’re standing there and you can say, look, I trained this person to this standard, which is the same standard that the Department of Transportation, Department of Labor, Department of Defense, and the ATA, and the TCA, and the Trucking Alliance, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, all say is the standard.
And I can show you how. It’s not a get-out-of-jail-free card, but it certainly helps. There’s tax credits and tuition benefits and all those things vary and they change a little bit, but we keep up with it and we give that information to employers and the federal and state resources we already talked about a little bit.
Next slide, please. And I am done with my section for now.
22:39 | Travis Baskin
Darn it. I just had the technical glitch that I probably foreboded before, but thanks, Dave. I mean, that’s a lot of great information about apprenticeships. Generally, I think that we can all sympathize with the frustrations about getting the process to actually work. And when we’re talking about apprenticeships, it’s one area that is very proven to deliver results in the fields that they’re employed. And applause to the FMCSA and the Department of Transportation for standardizing or process-izing an apprenticeship program into their kind of jurisdictional boundary.
So, let’s talk about exactly how they’ve done that with the FMCSA Safe Driver Apprenticeship Program. So, we’ll go over some of the details about the program specifically. So, the program specifically was called into effect or demanded essentially by Congress in the IIJA, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, as well as the Trucking Action Plan announced in late 2021 by the White House. And it was initiated in January this year by the Federal Register Notice outlining all of the specifics for the program.
Its intent is to introduce drivers from ages 18 to 20 into the trucking industry in operation and interstate commerce. And it requires for the program that the drivers be paired with an experienced driver who is at least 26 or older and in the passenger seat while they’re operating a commercial vehicle in interstate commerce. This two-phased program includes 120 hours in phase one. It has to include 80 hours of driving as well as 280 hours in phase two, including 160 hours of driving by the apprentice.
We’ll talk more about what exactly those phases entail. But one really important piece that was included by Congress here was technology requirements for the vehicles that the apprentice would be operating. Those include automatic or automatic manual transmissions on the vehicle, active braking collision mitigation systems, vehicle event or excuse me, video event capture systems such as dash cams, and speed limiters set at 65 miles per hour at the pedal and under adaptive cruise control.
And this three-year program is intended to bring in up to 3,000 apprentice drivers over the course of its three years. And FMCSA began taking applications back on July 27th of this year. So the program is open and it’s a good opportunity to jump in and formalize this type of apprenticeship in your operation.
So let’s talk about the fleet requirements, the fleet participation requirements. First, obviously, you’ve got to have operating authority and registration up to date. You have to maintain minimum levels of financial responsibility. You can’t be in a high or moderate-risk fleet. You can’t have a conditional or unsatisfactory safety rating. You can’t have any open enforcement actions from the previous six years of operation.
No crash rate above the national average. You can’t have driver and vehicle out-of-service rates above the national average. And you are required to report data monthly. And then the last requirement is that you register your apprenticeship program through the Department of Labor. You can see these national averages below in driver vehicle out-of-service rates and crash rates. These are the lines that you have to remain over or excuse me, under in order to be a participant in the program.
So what gets you disqualified? Essentially, you know, failing to maintain adherence to those standards that I just talked about. If you don’t maintain operating authority or registration, you’re out. If you don’t maintain financial responsibility, you become a high-risk or moderate-risk fleet for two consecutive months.
You have a conditional or unsatisfactory safety rating. You become the subject of an enforcement action. You observe a crash rate above the national average or see vehicle and driver out-of-service rates go above the national average for three consecutive months or if you fail to abide by your reporting requirements, your monthly reported requirements imposed by the program, then you will become disqualified.
So moving from the fleet requirements, let’s talk about the driver participation requirements. So the drivers, in order to become an apprentice in the program, they have to apply through an approved fleet. So you have to be employed by the approved fleet and you apply into the program with FMCSA through that fleet’s program that they initiate. You can contact apprentice drivers or hopeful apprentice drivers can contact participating fleets directly to seek participation in the program.
The specific requirements for apprentice drivers include that in the last two years, you cannot maintain more than one license and you cannot have any license actions, licensing actions against you. You can’t have any at-fault crash-related convictions or DUI-type convictions, reckless or distracted driving convictions, no leaving the scene of a crash, and none of the following convictions, none of these convictions for driving while having your license disqualified or vehicular manslaughter.
These are specific disqualifications for apprentice drivers. And then while you’re in the program, you can’t operate vehicles for passenger carrying, hazmat, no doubles or triples, or cargo tanks. You have to exercise incident remediation, and you will be an apprentice through the program up until you turn 21 years old.
More driver participation requirements include the conditions for disqualification, the standard conditions for disqualification found in 383, 383-51 I should say. So no major offenses, no serious traffic violations, no railroad grade crossing violations, and no violations of any out-of-service order. All of those disqualification conditions that you find in 383-51, violating any of them will find you out of the program.
And then conditions for the experienced driver. Experienced drivers must be at least 26 years old. They must have maintained a CDL for at least the last two years. They can’t have any preventable accidents that have been reported, and you can’t have any pointed moving violations on your CDL. And you have to have a minimum of five years driving experience.
And then, and we can move to the next slide, we can talk about how this program will work. When you have a fleet that’s accepted into the program, you have an apprentice driver that’s applied into the program, and you pair them with an experienced driver.
The program functions like this. Fleet’s selected based on their safety performance over time. And when they’re in, the FMCSA will publicize their involvement in the program on their website to help with recruiting apprentice and experienced drivers. And then training will be provided to the apprentice again in two phases. We can talk very specifically about what those two phases entail.
So, the first phase is, as I said, a minimum of 120 hours of on-duty time, and it has to include at least 80 hours behind the wheel. And during that period, the apprentice driver will be tested on several competencies. Those include interstate, city, rural, two-lane, and evening driving, safety awareness, speed and space management, lane control, mirror scanning, right and left turns, and logging, and HOS compliance. And during these phases, the experienced driver will provide real-time coaching and evaluation of the apprentice on all of these competencies.
And when the apprentice demonstrates mastery of all of these specific competencies, according to the experienced driver, then they will move into phase two. Phase two includes a minimum of 280 hours of on-duty time, with at least 160 hours spent behind the wheel.
During that phase, phase two, the competencies that will be observed and tested, and measured will be backing and maneuvering in close quarters, pre-trip inspections, fueling procedures, weighing loads and weight distribution, coupling and uncoupling, and trip planning, and truck routes, and map reading, as well as permits. And so, this is the core part of the apprenticeship program. And whenever the apprentice is, you know, demonstrates all of these competencies, they move forward.
And I think that we move to the next slide. During the program, while the apprentice is operating with the experienced driver, the fleet has reporting requirements. That includes monthly submission of apprentice, so, that is the vehicle miles traveled, the duty hours and driving hours, off-duty time, and breaks. The safety outcomes of the apprentice’s operation, including crashes, violations, and safety-critical events, and supporting information coming from the onboard monitoring system and investigative reports. Those will be part of the monthly submission coming from the fleet.
There are also, you know, immediate incident reporting requirements within 24 hours. The fleet has to report any injury or fatality crash, any alcohol-related citation in any vehicle. And whether the apprentice chooses to leave the program or if the apprentice fails a random or post-crash test. All of these things must be reported within 24 hours. And then at the conclusion of the program, when the apprentice has demonstrated the competencies through both phase one and phase two, they complete the training program and they’re allowed to operate a commercial vehicle in interstate commerce, just as any other commercial driver’s license holder is able to do today.
The fleet does have to continue to upload data related to those reporting requirements until the driver turns 21 and graduates out of the apprenticeship program. And the FMCSA, as I say, estimates three years of this data collection. And, you know, one more criteria or aspect of the program is that this program is limited to 3,000 drivers at any one time. I’m unsure as to how many exactly are a part of the program now, but this should be a call to action.
If you do want to be a part of FMCSA’s Safe Driver Apprenticeship Program, now is the time to recruit drivers, recruit prospective apprentices, get, you know, apply into the program, become accepted into the program, and get started now. Because as I said, the program is capped at 3,000 drivers at any single time.
And that’s basically the nuts and bolts of the FMCSA’s Safe Driver Program. I’ll hand it back over to Dave to talk more about the Department of Labor’s requirements. There we go. There he is.
36:53 | Dave Harrison
Thanks, Travis. I think you said tag, you’re it. So next slide, please.
Develop your own program, sign up, and intermediary. There’s several paths to get to the same spot. I will tell you that the easiest way to be a registered apprenticeship provider, especially if you operate in at least three states, I mean, you have you run to at least that many as a trucking entity. There’s the, I don’t want to get too much farther in the weeds, but there’s some, depending on the type of company, changes in the interpretation of that.
However, the easiest and quickest way is to contact an intermediary. I am an intermediary, but I’m not I’m not stumping myself. I want to make this very clear. I don’t charge any employer or association a dime. What I do is paid for by the Department of Labor. And I really shouldn’t be stumping for more work because I have enough. But I’m telling you that if you want to do this seamlessly and as easy as possible, just contact an intermediary.
Contact us. We can either direct you in the best way possible, whether it involves us or not. And we will. So that’s really what I strongly recommend. The other way is it will require somebody in your agency or organization to become more of a subject matter expert, have to work one-offs with the Department of Labor, whether it be state or a federal level or SAA. And then and that will only affect one state unless you work directly with the Department of Labor. And then, frankly, it’s just going to take you longer to get to the same spot.
So, yeah, and this is something we do that not all our all intermediaries do, but we’ve done this. If you take a partner with the ATA and CCA and the Trucking Alliance and multiple other associations, we manage those apprenticeships. We manage the apprenticeships in conjunction with the employers as well. So, we take about 95% of the administrative burden away from the employer, really have a two-touch process that we have a very streamlined alignment for that allows for all compliance and with very little touch points.
That’s one of the reasons we’ve got 160 employers, you know, putting apprentices in and expanding programs. And that’s building every day. We have at least two employers a week right now, at a minimum, and sometimes it’s three or four, five, you know, it’s required registered apprenticeship program. There are existing registered apprenticeship programs that already exist that you can be part of in a matter of days if you wish to, depending on how fast you want to work in a very simplified process.
We manage or co-sponsored with everything you see there on the slide, as well as multiple others. Plus, we manage our own national standard and TDL space. So we have, as I said before, sock that fits all feet. We have something to work for you. It just depends on the employer, and a little bit of configurations.
Next slide, please. Developing a carrier-specific program is an undertaking. You know, you have choices, as it says here, a competency base, an hour base, or a combination that’s called a hybrid. I will tell you that the best vertical and the best alignment period is a two-year competency-based program that the DOT, the DOL, and every other agency that I’ve mentioned before has adopted. You know, regardless, there are options within that.
But until we talk to somebody that’s currently training, we take what their training is and we modify accordingly as needed. And those who aren’t training usually use it as a blueprint in many cases, you’ll find that the two-year competency base meets every single criteria you’re trying to establish in a training program and the training mortality already.
I’ve had probably 300 safety or training folks that have some of the best safe assist ratings in the business vetted out and look at it. No one’s modified. So that would tell you a lot right there or wanted to modify it. Work process schedules and related instruction. A work process schedule really means a training program, training program assessment tools, department language.
Related training instruction could be a truck driving school or the employer can provide the related training instruction. And we get more in the weeds of that than an individual conversation, depending on what your individual needs are. In terms of program, really you set your own selection criteria. So whatever your minimum qualifications are, you could have 50 different companies or in case of a hundred different companies like we have in one under one umbrella and each one has their own selection criteria.
They’ll have their own wage schedule. The 12 to 24, we have some, you’re not set to that terms, but you must be at least hitting a minimum entry rate that is the minimum wage in whatever state it is. And there has to be a paid progression. And a probationary period, if you have one, there’s not a requirement to have one, which is a requirement to state upfront what it is if you have one because that’s part of the registration process.
As far as the Department of Labor rules, progressive wage schedule, just talked about that. EOC requirements. Look, if you are, you treat and hire people with equity. If you already have an equal opportunity plan or policy then you’re in place already for the EOC requirements. So you don’t need to reinvent any wheels there.
Complaint management. I handle most of the complaint management for all those national program standards. I’ve got two associations. They have somebody in-house. I get very few complaints. I’ve had two out of 20,000 apprentices plus, well, actually 29,000 if you count the ones where I graduated and other things like that. And both complaints were not founded because the apprentice misunderstood something in the documentation and were resolved just in a conversation between me and them.
Training requirements. Again, stipulated by you because ultimately you are the ones that’s holding the brunt of the liability. So I can take any work process and modify it up to a certain percentage at the authority to do so. Like I said, I haven’t had anybody modify this to your proxy base. But as a one to two-year program, when I say one-to-two-year program, there’s some one-year apprenticeship programs out there.
I would go with the two-year comps base because it does align with the DOT, the DOL, and the DOD, and with the ATA, et cetera. But keep this in mind when I say two-year program, this is very important. It’s a comps-based program. It’s not a time-based program. You can do a time-based program. A time-based program means you’re training that person all the way up to a certain period of time, no matter what their comps are.
A comps-based program lets you, as the employer, designate when someone has met a comps. Well, I can take three months to learn to ride a bike and Travis took three weeks and Steve took three days. But this also allows you to engage people who already have some measure of experience and to give them prior credit based off the comps you’ve assessed them at.
So you could have somebody in a two-year comps-based program and 14 months into it say, hey, they’ve got all the skill sets. They meet all these comps that are listed in here and migrate them out of the program. Tax credits are available in about 20 states, that’s a moving target. Just because the state doesn’t have one now doesn’t mean they won’t have one tomorrow. There’s sets of legislation that have been before Congress and are setting the federal mandates and tax credits, some of them specifically in the trucking space. They’re not law yet, but they’re working on it.
Next slide, please. Quick facts about my company. Again, I want to restate, whatever we do in support of your workforce development, registered apprenticeship, etc., is free of charge to your employer. Your taxpayer dollars are paying for that. That’s a role we’ve actually had for seven years now, and we’re pretty successful at.
Part of the ongoing technical assistance is helping you manage your program, reducing the administrative burden. Funding apparatuses are available. We have onboard a meeting where we’ll provide that information to you, implementation support, how to get started, how to make it work, how to market it. All those things are things that we’re providing ongoing technical assistance for. We have over 160 sponsors and employer partners.
Well, that was like 165 right now, and by the time, if we had this conversation in two months, it’d be 185, at least. Over 30 vetted and approved apprenticeship program standards, that’s correct, and over 19,000 apprentices. Like I said, we’re getting very close to 20,000. We’ll be there soon. I’ve got a list of occupations that we work with. That is not all of them. There wasn’t enough space to put them all. We have 30 plus. Plus, we’re onboarding new occupations all the time. So universally, we’re working in all those spaces.
So remember, it’s a supply chain. It’s TDL, and other things affect that. There’s management apprenticeships. There’s cybersecurity. There’s AI. People start talking about automation. You’re not going to have an automation. We do automation, too. Working in that space, we’re going to chair the first national program standard in an automated operator. But cybersecurity comes into that. Artificial intelligence comes into that. All these other things, they interlay into a career lattice. So we build all that. We do it as separate components.
Next slide. Best way to apply. You’ve got two ways. You go to national apprenticeship.org. That is our website. That would be the fastest and quickest way. You go to apprenticeship.gov. They’re going to route it through a whole bunch of steps and processes and send it to us anyway. So if you want to short-circuit that, just go to apprenticeship.org. FMCSA, you’ve seen that.
There’s information abound out there. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to send it to me. And I’m not going to read you the rest of that. But that information should be available. And if you don’t have it, contact me directly and I’ll get it to you. Next slide. I believe I’m done for the moment.
48:07 | Sean Gurney
Yeah, so that was an awful lot to unpack, everybody. There’s so much going on here. We have about 10 minutes left for conversation. Got some questions coming in already. But considering I have the floor, I think I’m going to ask the first one. I guess I’m lucky in that way.
Dave, you mentioned that you work for a little-known company, a small target company by the name of JB Hunt. Of course, we understand your humor there because JB Hunt is nothing if not a very large carrier. And when I think about these training programs and all of the requirements here, I think, boy, if I’m a small employer, I don’t know if I can get on this train, right?
So if I’m a small employer, does my ticket work for the apprenticeship train? Is it still effective? Are you going to let me on? Are you going to punch my ticket? Or how does that go? I suppose I should call you.
49:11 | Dave Harrison
The only limitation for a small employer is, what will your insurance allow you to do? And, what is your training capacity? That’s what it comes down to. When you think of JB Hunt, you think as a whole, but I want to put this in perspective.
At the time we built this program, JB Hunt hadn’t trained anyone since the 90s. So there was no trainer modality, they wouldn’t train the trainers, there wasn’t equipment for it or anything else. And you were looking at 715 different business units. And I can think of one business unit, had 99 locations and three jobs per location, each one paid differently by location, and all had its own nuances.
So it’s like dealing with 3,000 small businesses, not one business. I do that with the UPS of the world, the FedExes. I also do it with a whole bunch of companies that you’ve never even heard of. So it ranges from mom and pops down to the Fortune 100s to your point, Sean.
50:05 | Steve Kepler
Well, I think that’s one of the values of this program, right? You’ve got a patent program, it’s streamlined, it’s developed already, it’s a turnkey product, and anyone can take advantage of it. I think that’s one of the key benefits.
Maybe shifting gears, Travis, to you for a second. So you talked about an FMCSA program, several technology aspects of the program. So why do you think that they were included, and what value do you think they can bring to young drivers that are in training? What are your thoughts there?
50:38 | Travis Baskin
Sure, yeah. I think that the technology in the trucking space today is obviously more sophisticated than it’s ever been. And the amount of studies, the amount of data that we have about the safety of these technologies, the way that they aid drivers in the field, drivers in real-time operation, as well as they aid in coaching and they aid in fleets understanding exactly how safe their drivers are operating in the field. It’s just never been so sophisticated.
We’ve never had such an opportunity to leverage this type of information. And I think that Congress rightly appreciated that when they included these technology requirements. It’s clear that, well, we here at Motive, we’ve seen significant safety benefits from adoption of our dash cams and the implementation of an automated coaching program for our fleets.
We’ve seen folks that do have dash cams and coach frequently are having 20 percent fewer crashes as compared to those who aren’t engaged in the program. And that’s obviously real ROI, but beyond the bottom line, those are real lives that are being saved. So it’s a hugely impactful … technology today is hugely impactful in the safety of operations.
52:24 | Sean Gurney
Yeah, I think that’s a good point, Travis. And there’s a reason that once the driver exits the FMCSA program, once that driver exits the apprenticeship portion, they’re still in apprentice until they turn 21, right? They just don’t need that experienced driver in the truck, but those trucks still need to be properly equipped with all that technology. So I think that’s a good point.
I’m going to move back. I want to kind of roll in some audience questions here. We’re going to hit Dave with some questions he probably can’t answer on the money, but we’re going to ask him anyway, just for fun. We’ve got some very specific questions on money, right?
Because everybody’s caring a lot about money. And some folks want to know, how much money do you think they can save with this program? When they can start saving that money? And, what portion of the driver’s salary does the program take on for the company? So how much is the company on the hook? And maybe you’ll have to talk in some generalities because I’m sure each specific situation is different, but maybe you just have some sort of high level.
53:25 | Dave Harrison
First off, don’t assume that there’s an automatic buy-in that somebody’s going to offset every single penny or part of the penny just because you become a registered apprenticeship provider, or you’re part of the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program. That’s not the way it works. It’s what I said before, you have to, in order to get to those resources, there’s things you have to do.
So to become an eligible training provider list, to go after WIOA dollars, which are going to vary on how much they have, how much they have left, how they split their dollars among all the needed occupations, all those things, you have to get on the eligible training provider list. How do you do that? Become a registered apprenticeship provider. I don’t know how much money you’re going to get out of that tomorrow or the next day or the day after that.
If I had that crystal ball, I probably wouldn’t be on this call or I would have fixed all our problems 15 years ago. That’s not the way it works. I’ve been through this on the industry side. So this is a tough love moment, guys. People seem to think that I do this and all of a sudden a check’s going to hit the door. Whether you get any funding or you don’t get any funding, imagine this. If you reduce your turnover by 15%, what does that mean to your bottom line?
If you can find additional pipeline for candidates to be drivers for you and you can grow your own and teach them to be professional, safe truck drivers because you’ve got two things. Not only do you have the technology aspect Travis is talking about, if you take registered apprenticeship alone and we take this data across 200 employers that are large scale and every single operating space you can talk about, we have 17% less inspection data and an inspection test violations, both driver and vehicle for apprenticeship versus non-apprenticeship across the board.
And if you take the military engaging apprenticeship, the number is even higher. So you take that and overlap the technology. I will clarify one thing. Apprenticeship itself is part of the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program. The pilot program ends at 21, but let’s say someone joins it and they’re 20 and a half years old. That means that their apprenticeship isn’t necessarily over. They can carry the apprenticeship through.
You had a two-year competency base. They’re 20 and a half years old. They joined the apprenticeship. Don’t graduate them at six months of experience. You just open yourself up for liability that you don’t need. You graduate them at a year plus. They graduate the pilot program, but they can still be part of your apprenticeship.
If they are a veteran for whatever reason, they can draw that GI Bill benefit. The longer they’re in, the longer they can draw that benefit. If you’re doing the math, that’s a recruiting intention boom right there. I’m not going to tell you, and if anybody ever tells you, you do this, you’re going to get this amount of dollars, they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about or they’re trying to sell you something that it will not work, period.
What I’m telling you is there’s funding out there. Their employer is taking advantage of it. There’s ways of getting at it. I can help you do that. I can point you in the right direction. I’m not going to chase all the dollars for you because I can’t do that for 20,000 people. I just don’t have the staff.
56:44 | Travis Baskin
Well, and I would throw something else here. What Dave’s talking about are these monies that come from programs that exist throughout governments around the country, around North America. But there’s another side of that is the ROI that you see from one, having a safe driver who lowers your risk liability every time that they’re, every mile they’re rolling down the road. They’re less likely to have a crash. They’re less likely to operate in a way that exposes you to legal liability.
As I just said, here at Motive, our dash cam and coaching customers are seeing significant safety benefits that tie directly to an ROI. And then second to that, there’s a business aspect to demonstrating a robust safety culture in a robust safety program in a motor carrier operation that ties directly to insurance liability, insurance rates. We have a significant program at Motive where we have a number of insurance partners that have set schedules for adopting our technology and deploying it and showing that you’re using it the right way.
They’ll provide significant discounts, even up to the point where they essentially pay for the technology themselves. So the money that you see, it might not come in the form of a check from the federal government or a state government, but you’re still going to see it affecting your bottom line whenever you have a safer driver out there and you’re leveraging this type of technology.
58:26 | Dave Harrison
I want to reinforce that because this ties in really well together. A more professional and safe workforce that performs at a higher level that you have less turnover is ROI. That’s dollars. That’s real dollars and that’s something you can control because anything you’re building off a federal program or grants or anything else has a shelf life to it. They’ll have X amount of dollars and once they get dollars, then you’re waiting for more dollars to show up.
So you shouldn’t build something based off that. That’s just icing on the cake. The cake is the fact that I’m, you know, Travis talked about, you know, what is up to 15% less crashes with your equipment. Well, that’s kind of enforced in the safe driver program. You engage that platform.
You’re talking about less crashes, more professional, safe workforce. I participated in contract negotiations where a contractor who wanted to employ my company or companies utilizing our trucks required me to have a certain safety rating.
And there are requirements for that now. You know, so anything that puts you in the business of getting more business and gets you in the business of working with more consistent suppliers and gets you to the business with safer drivers that are more professional and performs better because you’re training them to do it the way you want them to do it, not the way somebody else taught them. And it gives you less turnover is ROI, period.
59:50 | Steve Kepler
Well, I think, you know, I think we’re about up on time here. So, you know, thank God, I’m sure we could go forever, maybe go for a few more minutes. Hopefully. Looks like most folks are hanging with us. We appreciate that. And I think that’s another thing that, you know, you see a lot in the press.
You guys have talked about this a little bit. You know, there’s a lot … there’s detractors about this program, right? They’re saying that these young drivers are threatened, don’t have the experience or aptitude to operate these large vehicles. So, I mean, what would you guys, I know I see it. I see it … what would you say to those folks?
And how can we as an industry help champion that message?
1:00:31 | Dave Harrison
Put me in coach, I’m ready to play.
Look, first off, here’s reality. There have been drivers running intrastate under the age 21 forever in every state but one. Okay, I will promise you that everyone on this webinar at some point or another has been on a road and next to them was an 18-wheeler with somebody who was 19 or 20 years old that was running intrastate. This is not new. The blue line doesn’t change magically because you hit the border of a state. Okay, yeah, and put this in perspective.
If you had a driver in Texas that was under a load in East Texas, they’re going to shut down to hours of service and everything else before they get to the other side of the state. But you take the same driver and that’s a 19-year-old. You take the same 19-year-old and they’re in Delaware. They can be in five states in 45 minutes. However, they can’t run outside of three counties. There’s nothing equitable about that process.
So this gives us, it’s a pilot. And I will tell you the precursor to this came from the military pilot program and I help folks with setting that up. And then they ran a military pilot program for under 21. That proved the case. This is very much the same thing. They’re going to run a cycle of 3,000 for the period of time and they’re going to graduate people out of it.
And I’m going to tell you that they’re going to find the same thing with these safety measures in place and with a formal training apparatus, they’re going to find that these people are safer than the people who come in at 30 years old and come out of CDL school, what’s it, not’s it, and go into some, you know, father by night, you know, Joe’s wingnut trucking. Okay, sorry, I get a little passionate about this one.
1:02:29 | Steve Kepler
It would keep the audience going. Travis, any thoughts you’d like to share? Dave certainly said a lot there.
1:02:37 | Travis Baskin
You know, I agree with Dave. You know, folks have been driving, 18, 19-year-olds have been driving from El Paso to Houston in heavy trucks for, you know, decades. And they’re not allowed to drive from El Paso to Las Cruces or Houston to Lake Charles. And that’s, there’s nothing fundamentally different about those operations, right? And so, again, I applaud the CSA for taking this on.
And I also note, like, there’s something fundamentally different about the process of putting somebody into an apprenticeship program with an experienced driver with reportable you know, a reportable program outputs that you have to send out and have vetted by the FMCSA that are specifically looking at how safe somebody is operating.
So, you know, I think that we are going to see that these folks wind up coming into the industry, you know, very soundly, very safe operators. And it’s definitely going to help the industry and the economy you know, global or across North America. I also say that this is just 3,000 even when and if this is successful, the FMCSA adopts it in earnest and maybe includes an apprenticeship program for young drivers or even second-career drivers.
This is just one piece of that, you know, what you refer to as a driver shortage pie. I think there is a capacity shortage in the United States. And I think that we attack this in multiple different ways. But the most important part of it is ensuring that the folks that are operating heavy vehicles on North American roadways are safe drivers. And I think that this program does a really good job of ensuring that.
1:04:31 | Sean Gurney
Well, and I’ll just say quickly, you know, we’re talking a lot about FMTSA’s younger driver program. But I think and you guys tell me if you think I’m wrong. I’m guessing I know what you say. Second, first off, Travis is obviously from Texas. That was a lot of specific Texas reference there. So I wanted to point that out.
However, if you’re an apprentice driver, in a truck equipped with strong safety technology, right, you are well trained and professional. I hardly care if you’re 19 or 25 or 36. You can be an apprentice at 45 for all I care. There’s strong training programs with sort of great fundamentals and good bones and great technology. You’re going to make safer drivers.
So, think about apprentice programs. Think about technology outside of just these 3,000 drivers, you might not get that pie. But there’s a whole nother piece of pie over here. And I think that’s really important.
1:05:26 | Dave Harrison
Travis touched on this, but this is the other thing. Think about this in the larger picture. First off, there’s no high school guidance counselor talking to any student about becoming a truck driver, or diesel mechanic, or whatever else is essential for all of us to live.
We’ve seen this at the entry points for our industry. We don’t have generational family bringing, my dad was a truck driver, and I want to be a truck driver because it’s the greatest job in the world. You don’t hear that anymore. Because that has gone away. It’s not the cool job. It’s not sexy. It’s not Smokey and the Bandit. And you don’t get the chick at the end of it, according to the mindset, okay, to the general populace that are younger. Because there’s no messaging.
We don’t have any kind of messaging that gets there. I work with next-gen trucking and other organizations that are really trying to change this. My question to everyone is, if we don’t do this, where are you going to get them? Yeah. Amen. We have to open the pipeline up that and we need to be in charge of how they’re trained and how they come in.
We need to wrap our arms around them and train them to be what we want them to be. Not, hey, this is Joe came out of the farm, and he goes to work with a guy that used to cook three books to get across the country and throw one log book out because he only got two in the old days. That’s not where we wanted to learn this from.
1:06:49 | Steve Kepler
Yeah, I think Dave, you’re right on point. I think, you know, if you ask anybody, no one’s going to commit to you, they’re a bad driver, right? But we’ve got lots of them that are out there because they’re still getting in crashes. We assume everyone that’s already licensed and been out there. Yeah, Sean, maybe. But we assume everyone that’s out there is a good driver.
So the key to this is setting them on the path out of the gate and getting those good habits established early, right? And I think that is worth its weight in gold from a safety perspective. So, well, I think I appreciate everyone sticking on. We’re about 10 minutes past. Looks like most of you have stuck with us. We appreciate that.
There was another question. Yes, everyone will get a copy of the slides once we’re done. And certainly any other questions you have of any of us that were on the line today, there’s our contact information. I want to thank Motive for sponsoring this webinar and also would love to thank Travis and Dave for their participation. Travis, you want to want to ride us out here?
1:07:57 | Travis Baskin
Sure. Yeah. Thank you, obviously, Scopelitis Steve, and Sean for being with us here. And Dave, great information. Really good to see you again. And this is just fantastic. I would say that if anybody listening has any interest in adopting some of that technology for the 20% who hadn’t already, we’ve got a full suite of fleet management products, safety products, and compliance products, including our AI Dashcam automated coaching product and scoring and reporting that can really dig down and make your operation much safer.
Feel free to shoot me an email directly or go to gomotive.com to learn more. But this has been a great conversation. Thanks for facilitating everybody.
1:08:47 | Steve Kepler
Thanks very much. Have a good day. Be safe.
1:08:51 | Dave Harrison
Nice to see everybody. Don’t hesitate to reach out. Thanks.
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