Just as some industries lack an understanding of military veterans, there are a lot of misperceptions of the trucking and transportation industry at first glance. Technology has made us dependent on the idea of always being connected. Information, entertainment and communication are only a click away all day, every day. We order things online and they “magically” arrive. Most of us don’t stop to think about how the trucking industry gets merchandise and materials around the country and how everything in this country is influenced by the trucking industry.
That’s a kind of service and function a lot of veterans can identify with, almost as an extension of the service they’ve already provided. When you look at the big picture, trucking can be anything from delivering goods of all kinds, to disaster relief aid. Either way, it is such a valuable service that helps people all across our country and is vital to everything we do.
Not only is there a high need for truck drivers due to the current driver shortage, but also many of the skills and attributes that veterans develop while serving can be applied to professional truck driving.
Few industries do as much when it comes to hiring and supporting military veterans as trucking does. There’s a long history of veterans in trucking and transportation. The U.S Chamber of Commerce Foundation has recognized the trucking industry as one of the fastest growing opportunities for veterans in its “Hiring our Heroes” program.
According to a study RAND Corp. released in October; 53% of servicemen and women who leave the military face a period of unemployment. It can be difficult for veterans to “bridge the gap” and translate their skill sets from military to civilian jobs, and some veterans report feeling misunderstood or underappreciated in civilian settings.
But in trucking and transportation, leaders and managers are also often veterans and it creates a more veteran-friendly culture. Many of these executives who are veterans themselves not only see the value in hiring veterans, but strive to create environments that are supportive of that. They see hiring veterans as not only a good business decision, but as the right thing to do.
Trucking’s relationship with veterans has been woven into legislation as well. The recently enacted Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act includes provisions to make it easier for military veterans to get a commercial driver’s license if they’ve driven trucks during their military service, and that’s supported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
“We’re going to continue working to make the transition from military into civilian life as a commercial truck driver easier,” says Bill Quade, FMCSA’s associate administrator for enforcement. “We’re working with the Dept. of Defense so their training and testing programs are good enough for a civilian [CDL] license, so when you get out you can turn in one and get another without having to retest or pay fees.”
While all 50 states have adopted FMCSA’s waiver program on the CDL skills test for such veterans, “there are still some things we can do to make it easier on them; they’re good people with a great work ethic who’ve had top-notch training and experience,” Quade says. “They’re the type of people we’d like to put on the road.”
The FAST Act specifies that no later than the end of 2016, regulations will be modified to allow military servicemen and women, within a year of separating from the armed forces, to apply for an exemption “from all or a portion of a [CDL] driving test if the covered individual had experience in the armed forces or reserve components driving vehicles similar to a commercial motor vehicle.”
Final regulations implementing a waiver for CDL residency requirements for recently separated veterans are to be issued by the end of this year.
Fleet Clean wants to do all we can to put Veterans into jobs, we offer a substantial discount to Veterans looking to purchase a Franchise. Interested Veterans should contact our Franchise Sales department at 321-409-1943.