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Free training will soon be available for people who want to become long-distance moving van drivers and earn $40,000 a year or more, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced Oct. 4.
According to industry experts, this is one job category that is about to boom, in Kentucky and across the nation. Congressman John Yarmuth and other community leaders also joined to discuss the new workforce training program which is funded by federal dollars.
Over the next few weeks, 100 men and women in Louisville and the region along the I-65 corridor in Kentucky and Southern Indiana will be selected to gain moving van operator skills through training. Graduates of the training will earn a Registered American Moving Professionals (RAMP) certification, a nationally-recognized credential by moving van companies in the American Moving and Storage Association.
“These are solid, good-paying jobs that are badly needed by the moving van industry and certainly much needed by our citizens,” Fischer said. “So it’s exciting to see this strong partnership pull together to provide rapid training opportunities to make these jobs and careers possible.”
Moving van operators earn competitive salaries, starting at $40,000 per year plus benefits. Drivers often earn between $50,000 and $80,000 per year.
“Today's announcement is yet another example of how federal investment in job training can boost our local economy, help businesses, and lead to good-paying jobs for Louisvillians,” stated Congressman Yarmuth (KY-3).
Moving van companies participating in the RAMP program with commitments to hiring graduates include: A. Arnold Moving, Armstrong Relocation & Companies – United Van Lines, Coleman American Moving Services, J.K. Moving Services, Margaret’s Moving & Storage and Tri City Van & Storage.
“The evolution of the moving business is at a critical point with respect to the pool of qualified van operators. Without a significant influx of new van operators there will need to be a fundamental change in how we do business . . . it would not be in the consumer's favor,” said Rod Russell, vice president of operations, A. Arnold Moving.
“For Louisville, RAMP represents more than a job-training program for van drivers. As delighted as we are with the opportunity to create these solid middle class jobs, that's really just half the story,” said Eileen Pickett, senior vice president of Community and Economic Development, Greater Louisville Inc. “The spillover from this will be direct, immediate and remarkable.”
As the van companies meet the demand for new drivers through RAMP, it will create a need to put more trucks on the road. Louisville manufacturer, Kentucky Trailer, will be there to meet that need, Pickett said.
In fact, Kentucky Trailer CEO and President Gary A. Smith Sr. first alerted GLI to this synergistic opportunity, which eventually led to the creation of RAMP. “The more drivers we can put on the road, the more trailers we can build in Louisville. It's two scoops of economic good fortune wrapped up in a single program.”
The RAMP Program is a three-week course designed in partnership with the American Moving and Storage Association in cooperation with Jefferson Community and Technical College (JCTC). The first class starts in November at the Downtown Campus of JCTC.
“This is a wonderful partnership for Jefferson,” said Tony Newberry, president and CEO of Jefferson Community & Technical College. “Employers have access to students who are trained to meet their industry needs and students know they have skills that will translate to specific, high-wage jobs.”
Participants will get classroom work and hands-on skill building. There will be morning and afternoon sessions. Participants also earn four hours college credit at JCTC.
Applicants must complete a career assessment to see if they are suited to the work. They also will undergo drug screening and a criminal background check. Those approved for the course who already possess a commercial driver's license can go immediately into RAMP training. Those approved for the course without a commercial driver's license will enter the training and receive a scholarship to earn the license at an approved driving school upon completion of the RAMP training.
Residents of the Louisville area and the 26 counties served by KentuckianaWorks, Lincoln Trail Area Development District and Lake Cumberland Area Development District in Kentucky and Region 10 in southern Indiana can apply for the free training.
Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED. Military veterans, husband-and-wife teams and anyone in the region committed to teamwork, providing good customer service, and attention to details should explore becoming a moving van operator.
To learn more about the training and how to apply for a training scholarship, sign up for an informational session at www.kentuckianaworks.org/ramp or call KentuckianaWorks at (502) 574-4723.
RAMP program partners include: The American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA), Greater Louisville Inc., Jefferson Community and Technical College, KentuckianaWorks, Lincoln Trail Area Development District, Region 10 (Southern Indiana), Lake Cumberland Area Development District, and the Kentucky-Indiana Exchange. Funding for the program comes from the U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Investment Act, KY WINS and a grant from the National Fund for Workforce Solutions.