Trucking Can Be a Great Career Option For Veterans

Veterans struck with wanderlust usually opt for trucking as a civilian career option post separation from the military. It provides them with the freedom they enjoy and a satisfying and fulfilling career, which also carries a reasonably good monetary compensation package.

The trucking industry offers a wealth of career opportunities for veterans. As per statistics available with the US Department of Labor truckers in America number approximately 3 million. This figure is expected to increase at a rate of 10 to 20 percent every year up to 2012. On an average truckers earn between $40,000 to $58,000 annually. Currently there is a shortage of about 20,000 long-haul freight drivers. It is estimated that by the year 2014 total shortage for truck drivers is going to climb to nearly 111,000. In this scenario, the trucking industry is looking for people with a former military background who are interested in pursuing a career in the trucking industry.

The time that a trucker will be away from home will vary depending on the carrier company and the route on which the trucker operates. However, as mentioned earlier, the pay is quite good with many companies offering signing bonuses of $2000 to $4000 along with entry-level annual pay packages of $40,000 to $42,000. There are companies that even offer to pay all training expenses if the prospective trucker agrees to a job commitment of one or two years.

The trucking industry prefers to have ex-servicemen on their rolls because of the natural discipline and commitment to work inherent in them. They are free from drug problems, are disciplined and follow instructions meticulously. Because having military people working for them is beneficial to the trucking industry in many respects it is now working to remove barriers for such people because it wants them to join the industry. The talents, values and attributes learned during a military career work very well for a trucking career. Truckers need to work alone for long hours without any supervision. Cargo hauling though appearing as a mundane task to many people in fact can be successfully done only with a sense of commitment and self-discipline. These things fit in very well with the mental make-up of people with a military background who are trained to have established goals and make sure to get the job done even if they need to go out of their way. They are sincere and extremely reliable.

Generally the career path chosen by veterans in this field is to buy their own trucks and set up an independent business. However, there are a several different opportunities that exist which can provide veterans a better way of advancement in the trucking industry. They can opt to become trainers/instructors for a carrier company for training new truck drivers. If equipped with a bachelor’s degree it may be possible to reach supervisory/managerial positions. The average salary of a freight manager is around $70,000 per annum. Transportation and distribution managers are paid between $40,000 to $115,000.

Transportation is a field that offers a high number of openings for entry level positions with great scope for career advancement for veterans.

New Online Florida Health Insurance Option Moves Closer

Last 2008, due to the rising cost of FL health insurance, lawmakers approved a Florida Health Choices program to give small businesses more options to help them cover employees with a health plan. This program is expected to create an online health insurance marketplace where people can instantly shop for different Florida health insurance plans. After three years of lengthy delays, it appears that the program will finally come to fruition thanks, in part, to a boost from Gov. Rick Scott.

When Will This Online Florida Health Insurance Exchange Be Ready?

Gov. Scott has already signed two bills, HB 1473 and HB 1125, which will help with the implementation of the program. According to Chief Executive Officer Rose Naff, the Florida Health Choices program might be ready this summer, but a specific start date still isn’t known.

HB 1473 will provide public-records exemptions, which Naff says is important to protect consumers’ confidential information. HB 1125 is necessary to give large employers a chance to participate in the program by eliminating the restriction that Florida Health Choices can only be used by small businesses with 50 or fewer employees. Naff added that large employers will still need to get approval from the Florida Health Choices board of directors to participate because he says, “Our target is still going to be businesses at 50 and smaller.”

Online Florida Health Insurance Market Generates Pro And Con Opinions

There is still a lot of apprehension and skepticism about the new program. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio says the basic idea of having this online market for FL health insurance is to make shopping for various types of Florida health coverage easier to navigate than the traditional system has been.

Businesses that sign up for the program are expected to have a broader range of choice under the online marketplace than was previously available. Initially, coverage options will only be provided by established insurance companies. In the long run, the program is also expected to allow hospitals and clinics to sell specific types of services through the online marketplace.

Laura Goodhue, the executive director of Florida CHAIN, is apprehensive about Florida Health Choices. Goodhue says, “We see it as a hodgepodge of inadequate, not-even health coverage.” She added that implementing Florida Health Choices when the state health insurance exchange is coming in 2014 doesn’t make much sense. The state-based insurance exchange of 2014 will have stricter coverage requirements based on the federal mandate than Florida Health Choices has, so employees may be better served by the 2014 exchange.

What Can Consumers Do To Find Affordable FL Health Insurance Plans Now?

Neither of these options are yet available, but Florida has many residents in desperate need of Florida health insurance. One of the things that may hinder many people from getting much-needed coverage is simply not knowing how to find the most affordable coverage options. With hundreds of choices from different insurance companies, it’s hard to compare plans until you understand that there are different categories of plans.

The different categories include co-pay plans that have a $25 or $35 out-of-pocket cost to see a doctor or fill a prescription and deductible plans that only pay claims for recommended preventive care until you have spent a pre-determined amount on health care each year. Other options include Health Savings Account Plans and Medigap Insurance.

Each form of FL health insurance has certain advantages and disadvantages, but if low premiums are your priority, explore the high-deductible plans that allow you to open a Health Savings Account (HSA). When you choose certain high-deductible plans, you can open a tax-free savings or investment account and to boost your savings in case you need to pay for health care before the plan’s deductible is met.

Another way to keep your premiums low is just by taking good care of your health. Not only does that typically mean low premiums, but you also won’t be plagued by coverage exclusions for a pre-existing condition, much less have to appeal when your application is declined.

Personal Training Fitness Courses of Study

Find Personal Training Fitness Courses in the United States and Canada. Now that you’ve decided to achieve your career as a personal trainer or fitness trainer, the next step is to follow your heart and research available personal training fitness courses in your area.

Generally, personal training fitness courses begin with an introduction to what a personal trainer does. Students enrolled in personal training fitness courses learn how to facilitate learned skills to open and maintain a successful business. In addition to essential business training, students learn how to use exercise equipment, create exercise regimens for clients, and how to coach clients to stick to set routines.

Other studies in personal training fitness courses entail client assessment skills, various training techniques, strengthening and endurance exercises, and other related subject matter. In addition, personal training fitness courses will often involve training in nutritional counseling and metabolic factors.

Depending on the personal training fitness courses in which you participate, the majority will result in certification; however, some personal training fitness courses are more comprehensive and longer in duration, and may result in a degree.

Overall, successful graduates who have completed necessary personal training fitness courses can enjoy diverse career prospects. In addition to working in health clubs, aboard cruise ships and health retreats, a number of experienced fitness trainers go onto working with sports teams or as athletic trainers to major sports figures. Income varies, but the top 10 percent have the potential to earn well above $50,000 annually.

If you (or someone you know) are interested in finding personal training fitness courses, let professional training within fast-growing industries like massage therapy, cosmetology, acupuncture, oriental medicine, Reiki, and others get you started! Explore career school programs near you.

Salary source: (US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Personal Training Fitness Courses of Study
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The Original E-Type Jaguar: Still the Best

Every once and a while, a model comes along that changes everything we know about cars. The Ford Model T made the car available to the general public. The Cadillac Type 53 was the first car to use the modern control layout. The Chrysler Airflow brought about the use of wind tunnels during design to improve aerodynamics and performance. The Lamborghini Miura ushered in the age of the supercar. The McLaren F1 taught us what true speed was. The Bugatti Veyron has taken technology, craftsmanship and performance to stratospheric heights. And, the Tesla Roadster has brought together high-performance and electric power, bringing us one step closer to viable electric cars.

However, there is one car that is well and truly on the top of the list of automotive greats, the Malcolm Sayer designed Jaguar XK-E, also know as the E-Type. The E-Type redefined what beauty is in a car. Upon seeing it, Enzo Ferrari called it “The most beautiful car ever made”. That means a lot coming from the man who made the 274 GTB/4 Berlinetta.

Jaguar created two prototype concepts ahead of the E-Type, the E1A in 1957 and the E2A in 1960. The E1A featured a monocoque chassis, fully independent rear suspension and the “XK” engine, a dual-overhead cam inline 6 cylinder around since 1949. The E1A was a factory test mule and was never released to the public. The E2A was made from an aluminum body on a steel chassis and used a 3 liter version of the “XK” engine. This car was finished as a race car, as Jaguar thought the racing circuit would provide a better testing ground. They were right. The orignal E2A was recently sold through Bonham’s Auction House for $4,957,000.

Due to the success of the E2A as a racer and as a testing platform, Jaguar began selling the E-Type in 1961. And, from 1961 to the model’s end in 1974, Jaguar sold 72,515 XK-Es. Over those 14 model years, Jaguar released 3 versions of the E-Type, appropriately named Series I, II and III.

Series I of the XK-E ran from March 1961 to 1968 and used the 3.8 liter straight-6 with SU carburetors engine from the XK150S until October 1964 when the displacement was increased to 4.2 liters. Like the prototype racer, the Series I came equipped with disc brakes all around and a fully independent coil rear suspensions with torsion bar front ends.

My favorite feature of the Series I was the glass-covered headlights that were present on most E-Type variations until 1967. If you want to get detailed, the Series I also featured a smaller opening at the front, signals and taillights located above the bumpers and the exhaust protruding from under the rear license plate.

From 1961 to 1964, the Series Is were equipped with a Moss 4-Speed transmission which was missing the useful syncromeshing for first gear. In 1965, Jaguar adopted a 4-speed gearbox with syncromeshing in all four gears. A year later, to add to the roadster and coupe E-Types offered, Jaguar added a 2+2 coupe version with an optional 3-speed automatic transmission.

In 1961, the Jaguar E-Type was tested to have a top speed of 149 mph and a 7.1 second 0-60 time. All that with 17.7 miles per gallon. Those are serious performance numbers, especially considering the E-Type’s successor, the 1976 XJS, only managed a 0-60 of 7.6 seconds and a top speed of 143. 38,419 Series I XK-Es were sold.

In 1969, Jaguar released the XK-E Series II, which only lasted three models years until 1971. Jaguar kept the three model options, the convertible, the coupe and the 2+2. The Series II lost the gorgeous glass covered headlights in favor of open lights, switched to a wrap-around bumper and addressed cooling issues by adding electric fans and enlarging the car’s “mouth”. More comfortable (but uglier) seats were fitted to the interior, and air conditioning and power steering were offered as options for the first time.

Due to what I can only define as idiocy on the part of the U.S., Series II E-Types imported to the States were fitted with twin Zenith-Stromberg carbs and detuned. I’m not sure why, but apparently, the U.S. preferred a slower E-Type. Like I said, idiocy. 18,809 Series II E-Types were sold.

1971 through the XK-Es end in 1974 saw several major changes in Series III. To begin with, the 2-seater coupe was eliminated, leaving just the roadster and the 2+2. Also, Jaguar canned the venerable straight-6 in favor of a new 5.3 liter V-12, which would evolve into the power plant for the XJS. Better brakes and power steering became standard, and the car was fitted with a new front grill, flared wheel arches and V-12 badging. 15,287 Series IIIs were sold. While it is still an astonishingly beautiful car, the Series III E-Type wasn’t nearly as good as the Series I and II, with Series I being the all-out favorite.

Today, the E-Type is getting a lot of attention. Don Draper runs one through its paces on the current season of Mad Men. Jaguar, themselves, are marketing the C-X16 concept as the E-Type reincarnated. They have even gone so far as to name the 2014 production model based on the C-X16 the F-Type. But, no matter how good the F-Type might be, nothing will ever live up to the nearly perfect E-Type.

The E-Type is a very rare thing. It’s a legend that is as good in myth as it is in reality. It is still the pinnacle of automotive beauty. While current cars are faster and have better performance, none give you the thrill of looking down that long hood and hearing the rumble of the “XK” straight-6. The Jaguar E-Type will never be replicated. It serves as inspiration for designers whose cars can only hope to capture some of it’s magic.

Changing Direction: The 2014 Drug-Free Communities Grants

There are a variety of radical and significant changes to the Drug-Free Communities Support Program (DFC) this year. Changing that represent a significant departure in focus from previous years. This article is not about politics so without politicizing the issue too much, many of the changes fit with current trends toward legalization and recent statements by national leaders asserting that some illegal substances are no more dangerous than alcohol.

The first significant change is a shift in focus away from the coalition itself. The 2014 RFA no longer requests information about how the coalition evolved over time or what major accomplishments the coalition has had. It seems the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), which has always proudly claimed ownership of DFC even as the grant management shifted, is no longer as interested in the past or present strength of the grantees. Add to this the complete elimination of question 10 from the 2013 RFA which addressed sustainability and it seems the future longevity of the grantees is also not a concern. Even the guidance on developing the Action Plan was changed so that DFC Goal One no longer mentioned including objectives, strategies, and activities to strengthen the coalition’s internal capacity. Another indicator of the lack of interest in the welfare and longevity of the grantees is the absence of questions related to the internal structure of the coalition. Questions about board structure, committees, leadership, or even how new members are engaged, recruited, and trained are minimal and do not ensure involvement in the coalition mission.

The other major change relates to the very foundation of the drug free communities program. Instead of DFC Goal Two providing guidance to include goals to prevent youth substance abuse… It now says prevent and reduce youth substance abuse. Although they still ask for core measure data they no longer ask for data on the consequences of youth substance use. That means most of the social indicator data usually provided related to juvenile crime, school data, emergency room data, etc. will not be included. In addition the role of unique local community characteristics, local community and social norms, and local attitudes and readiness to change is not considered. Neither are local laws, policies, practices, standards, or statutes. This seems to me to be an aversion to engage in the discussion on legalizing medical and now recreational marijuana and other lax drug laws.

While we grapple with the content issues we will also need to wrestle with a shakeup in formatting including reducing the number of pages from 30 to 25. They reduced the previous 10-15 questions down to FIVE and they did NOT include the scoring criteria instead stating that it will be released in February. With last year’s funding cutoff at 94 the competition will be excruciatingly tight this year. The final scoring criteria is so disorganized, littered with typos, and is immensely subjective. For example, you could have a near perfect proposal but have just one of your objectives be not measureable and you would automatically lose 8-10 points! Last year, that one tiny error would have eliminated you from consideration. There are very few grants that have a funding cutoff as high as the DFCSP and they have used some terrible scoring processes in the past. The changes this year are the most significant in recent memory.

Writing a successful Drug Free Communities (DFC) grant has become increasingly challenging, since appropriated funding has fluctuated from year to year while the number of applicants has stayed consistently high. Each year, SAMHSA receives over 500 applications. On average, SAMHSA funds about one-fourth of those applications, although in 2011 only 19.2% of applications received funding, and in 2012 that number dropped to 16.5%, the smallest number of applications funded since 2002. In the FY2006 funding cycle, applicants had to score 82 or better to receive funding, but by 2013 the minimum score had increased by 12 points to 94. What then does a coalition need to do to increase their chances of scoring high enough to get funded?

As someone who started as a prevention practitioner and community coalition member I can see the intent of the questions. However, as a grant writer trying to secure the DFC, I find myself zeroed in on the scoring process and criteria and less on the intent of the questions. In the end, your application will need to be much more than good… it will need to be nearly perfect… and if the “nearly” falls in the wrong section than even being nearly perfect will not have been enough! On top of that… as with any federal grant that is peer reviewed… you will need just a little bit of luck.

So… shoot for perfection… and… Good Luck!