National Tank Truck Carriers workforce committee chair Holly McCormick, VP of Groendyke Transport’s talent office, said NTTC submitted a professional tank truck driver work process schedule and related instruction to the Department of Labor in early April. And John Ladd, the Office of Apprenticeship (OA) administrator within DOL’s Employment and Training Administration, informed them April 22—just days before the start of NTTC’s 2022 Annual Conference—that DOL had approved the apprenticeship.
“For NTTC to be able to achieve the first-ever tank truck, new-occupation, registered apprenticeship program, is huge,” said Streblow, who credited the work of McCormick, workforce committee members, and Sandlin in the months leading up to the conference for a “tremendous achievement.”
“As we know with the federal government, when the iron is hot, you’ve got to strike right then, so that’s exactly what we did,” McCormick said.
The tank truck driver registered apprenticeship isn’t yet listed on apprenticeship.gov, but Streblow said it already has RAPIDS code 3033CB, which will fall under O*NET (Occupational Information Network) code 53-3032.00 in the OA’s Standard Occupational Classification (SOC)-based system for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers. NTTC’s hope is for the tank truck driver apprenticeship to eventually have its own O*NET code in DOL’s list of industry-vetted registered occupations.
The work process schedule includes a competency checklist for eight job functions that cover maintenance, preparation, safe driving, on-time delivery, vehicle communications, record keeping, operating in various conditions, and ESG requirements. Related instruction, which includes CDL training, covers safety, tankers and related equipment, loading and unloading, hazardous materials, cargo management, mechanical skills, compliance, social awareness, and company-specific topics, and totals 150 hours.
Immediate past NTTC chairman Rob Sandlin, president and CEO and Florida Rock & Tank Lines, said securing a DOL-recognized, skilled labor job was “a big step,” but it’s only the first step toward using the program to bring more drivers into the industry. “It’s critical that we keep the pressure on because what you find in dealing with those folks is … if they get moved off this, they’ll go onto something else,” Sandlin said.
Next steps include partnering with programs like the Department of Defense’s SkillBridge, which provides service members the opportunity to gain civilian work experience through specific industry training during the last 180 days of military service; and working with DOD to make verifiable military trucking experience easier to obtain.
Florida Rock & Tank announced it had joined the SkillBridge program in June.
Streblow said more information will be available at 2022 Tank Truck Week in September in Houston. He also said NTTC is working on reference materials, and plans to host a webinar outlining the steps carriers must follow to take advantage of the apprenticeship. “It’s very early,” Streblow cautioned. “There is still a lot of work in front of the workforce committee.”