9 months ago


By Olivia McClure s the

By Olivia McClure s the American trucking industry continues to deal with a workforce shortage, some employers are looking to hire military veterans as drivers — an approach that could also help veterans, who often struggle to find fulfilling work when they return home. Nationwide, trucking companies are short about 38,000 drivers, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) reported in 2014. “In certain segments of the industry, we’re definitely projecting huge truck driver shortages as truck drivers begin to age out,” said P. Sean Garney, director of safety policy for ATA. Veterans are one potential source of new drivers. Additionally, they have the ability to fill other roles in the industry, Garney said. The ATA member companies have committed to hiring 100,000 veterans by the end of the year and is encouraging companies to consider veterans for apprenticeships and other jobs. The ATA is also supporting a number of regulatory changes that would make it easier for veterans to become truck drivers, such as extending the period of time that the congressionally mandated skills test can be waived for veterans from 90 days to a year, Garney said. In the meantime, all states have been granted an exemption allowing a longer timeframe. “It allows military personnel whose military occupational category is truck driver to opt out of the CDL skills test when they try to obtain their civilian CDL,” Garney said. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMC- SA) is working to allow both veterans and soldiers on active duty to obtain a commercial drivers license outside their state of domicile because military personnel are often stationed far away from home. ATA supports an effort to allow active reserve military personnel younger than 21 to obtain a CDL that’s valid in two states, though that is likely a “long way down the road,” Garney said. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has a Trucking Track Mentoring Program, which helps veterans find jobs in the trucking industry that suit their skill sets. “In the past few years, the number of military personnel selecting trucking as the industry to start their career has increased, resulting in some companies building their workforce to greater than 30% veterans,” according to the Trucking Track website. 12 ❘ Open Road Q3 2016

Programs that help veterans market their military skills to civilian employers are valuable, said Alex Juan, a spokeswoman for the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs. She recently polled Louisiana veterans and found many were discouraged because their experience from the military didn’t transfer to jobs stateside. Military personnel work with very specialized vehicles and equipment that aren’t used in the civilian world, she said. And some veterans have trouble adjusting from military life. “Why don’t people move faster?” is a common frustration, Juan said. They may also miss the camaraderie of the armed forces and the honor of wearing the uniform. “As you leave, the biggest thing is you miss it … and trying to find your new normal,” she said. When veterans can’t find fulfilling jobs — many have to take entrylevel work just to get by — it’s even more frustrating. “They’re used to feeling a sense of pride in their work,” Juan said. Finance your fleet with a trusted industry veteran Is it time to expand or replace units in your fleet? Wells Fargo Equipment Finance has a trucking industry veteran in Louisiana, who works with fleet owners to help drive their dollars further. We provide valuable guidance to help you get the equipment you need as simply and easily as possible. We offer: • Loans, leases, and lines of credit for private and for-hire carriers • A relationship approach designed to last for the long haul • Trailers available for lease directly from Wells Fargo Talk with a transportation equipment finance specialist today. Tony Cummings • 713-576-2361 • © 2014 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. All transactions are subject to credit approval. Some restrictions may apply. Wells Fargo Equipment Finance is the trade name for certain equipment leasing and finance businesses of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. and its subsidiaries. WCS-1198806 Enjoy quick, easy, on-the-go access to your DOT compliance records with MYDOTFILES.COM! There are many efforts underway in Louisiana to help veterans connect with employers and job opportunities. The VA is working more closely with the Louisiana Workforce Commission and Louisiana Economic Development to plug veterans and their knowledge into appropriate jobs, Juan said. People with a military background are a natural constituency to recruit to trucking, Garney said. “Often they don’t have higher education, which is not a requirement for truck driving,” he said. “Also, they are generally dedicated. They understand the chain of command.” K For more information, contact: 888-308-2201 or Open Road Q3 2016 ❘ 13

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