We here at the NorthAmerican Transportation Association (NTA) are looking to step up to the next level. Our goal is to be the “go-to place on the web to get help” in the transportation industry. From the entry-level driver to top supervisory management, NTA is now the place to go for answers and education.
For those people in management who want to better themselves, we already offer two different degrees. The first is an on-line Bachelor of Science Degree in Transportation through the Embry-Riddle University in Long Beach, CA. The second degree is an on-line Global Logistics Degree through California State University of Long Beach. We also have put together a nationwide list of certification school programs for transportation, logistics and supply chains for our NTA members. For the working man, we have TruckersU – an online business course program that will assist truckers in improving their business practices through business web courses.
At this time, I want to announce the expansion of our Education Section with a new partnership with the Long Beach City College’s award-winning, nationally recognized Workforce Development Department, which provides high-quality, career-focused training. The programs are designed to match current industry needs and position students and workers for success with the support of industry-certified training and a dedicated faculty and staff. Following are just some of the new curriculum now offered through this partnership.
Harbor Driver Training Program. This 14-week training program offers instruction, certification and licensing for commercial truck drivers qualified to haul hazardous freight and cleared to operate within the Los Angeles and Long Beach port complexes. This training program, designed in response to industry needs, prepares students for careers as short-haul truck drivers and assists graduates with job placement within the local port trucking industry.
Heavy Duty Maintenance & Alternative Fuels. This 3-week, 80-hour course prepares participants for career opportunities as heavy duty alternative fuels technicians and mechanics. Created with Republic Services, a nationwide recycling and waste management company, this course addresses a shortage of qualified technicians in the industry. Upon successful completion of the program, participants will be prepared to take the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Fuel System Inspector certification test.
LINCS Supply Chain Management. LINCS is a national, entry-level supply chain management education and certification program targeted at new (and employed) workers in this field. Long Beach City College is part of a national consortium of 12 colleges and universities that have developed eight new certification programs in supply chain management. Classes are less than 40 hours and prepare participants to take the SCPro Fundamentals certification exam.
Advanced Transportation Technology Courses. Through a strategic partnership with El Camino and Cerritos Colleges, our Advanced Transportation Technology Center offers courses to current workers eligible for Employment Training Panel funds, which allows approved employers to receive state subsidization for up-skilling their workforce. This program targets municipal and public transit systems’ fleet maintenance staff.
Customized Training for Businesses. Long Beach City College can also deliver customized training to meet a company’s business needs. We have pre-developed curriculum in common training needs areas and can develop new content to serve specific needs. For more information about the LBCC programs, course start dates and other available opportunities, please call (562) 938-3248.
Beginning October 1, 2016, the FMCSA will begin requiring all new and existing FMCSA-regulated entities to establish FMCSA portal accounts through which the entities obtain a user name and password. Thereafter, all new filings and updates must be made electronically through the URS System using the portal account user’s name and password. USDOT Carrier and FMCSA Docket PINs will continue to be used for existing entities through September 30, 2016. So, for all you old fogies out there who still don’t have a computer, you’d better start getting your grandkids familiar with the FMCSA website.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR NEWS
We are seeing a rise in the number of carriers audited for state unemployment tax (UET) compliance as a result of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) recent employee misclassification initiatives. Compliance initiatives like this one are not always expressly stated, however, one Iowa auditor and another in New Mexico recently revealed that the DOL investigation was part of a broader national democratic effort to combat misclassification, and specifically named the trucking industry as the “primary focus” in Iowa.
Beginning in 2014, the DOL plainly expressed its intent to “crack down” on the misclassification of employees as independent contractors. It did so in its Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2015-1, via its agreement to share information and resources with at least 29 state departments of labor. The DOL then issued roughly $60 million in grants to other democratic state UET departments to improve worker misclassification detection and encourage active policing of the policy. Importantly, some of the earliest grants issued by the DOL to state UET agencies in 2014 are scheduled to sunset on September 30, 2016. Those 19 states must exhaust the grants for their intended purpose or repay the funds. This will likely prompt a further increase in UET audit activity in these states this year, followed by increased activity in states that received 2015 grants before they sunset in 2017.
With these storm clouds on the horizon, it is important for non-asset based motor carriers to be prepared for a potential visit from state UET auditors. A review of independent contractor operations, documents and practices in conjunction with each state’s classification laws is vital. The NTA offers a specific independent contractor audit program geared toward this misclassification issue.
NTA is also seeing a marked increase in the number of our members with California-based operations being audited by workers’ compensation insurers. The insurers often take the unilateral action of assessing back premium for independent contractor owner-operators. The NTA recommends carriers to push back on these assessments and continue their fight to argue their drivers’ independent status.
This problem will not go away unless the transportation industry votes the current administration out of office. If you are not an NTA member, you should join and ask to have a risk assessment done on your operation immediately. Remember, our motto is “Helping Others to Succeed in Business” and that truly is our mission – let us help you! Call NTA at (562) 279-0557 for more details.