The Limousine Association of New Jersey (LANJ) and Burlington County College (BCC) are strengthening a partnership effort to offer a chauffeur training certification program.
Encouraged by officials from the New Jersey Department of Labor at a November meeting, the college will submit a proposal for a public-private partnership in which the NJDOL will provide funding of up to $300,000 for the development of a “blended” driver training course. The course tentatively will consist of both classroom and online learning, which will allow candidates from throughout the state to take the course.
If all goes according to plan, the course could begin early 2014. The NJDOL will provide up to $6,000 per driver to be trained. The goal is to draw potential drivers from three pools of individuals: unemployed, under-employed and returning military. There also is the potential for on-site training to upgrade existing chauffeurs.
The program will be jointly developed by LANJ and BCC staff.
“We’re moving forward and it seems like the money is available to make this happen,” said Don Kensey, LANJ chair of the Chauffeur Drivers Certification Program and president of Cross Keys Coach. “Everyone in the industry is always looking for well-trained drivers, and this program will help people looking for employment in our industry to obtain certification.”
Added Barry Lefkowitz, executive director of LANJ, “This program is significant because this is something the rest of the industry — state-by-state — can replicate to help fill the high drive turnover rate throughout the industry. It’s important that we attract people who see being a chauffeur as a profession, and we can accomplish this through certification.”
Lefkowitz also noted that discussion is underway to work with insurance partners to develop a driver safety program as part of the course curriculum.
In addition to Kensey and Lefkowitz, also attending the meeting was Jim Moseley (Trip Tracker Software), LANJ board vice president and vice-chair of the certification program, and board member Bob Schiavo (Albert’s Transportation).
— Tom Halligan, LCT East Coast Editor