Why Hiring Veterans as CDL Truck Drivers Just Makes Sense
There’s no denying that the trucking industry has endured a driver shortage for quite some time now, and as new businesses continually emerge, the gap between demand and resources continues to widen.
When it comes to finding competent and dedicated employees, all industries face challenges, but what if there was an untapped candidate pool right under your nose?
Upon returning home from active duty, veterans face challenges of their own, sometimes finding it difficult to adjust to everyday life again. Yet these individuals can thrive in the truck driving business. Those who made the commitment to serve our country gained an abundance of skills and experience that proves useful in the trucking industry.
From their training in the military, commitment to order and hierarchy, and attention to detail, hiring veterans’ as CDL truck drivers provides a win-win situation. Their self-discipline, motivation to excel, and familiarity with a structured environment and being away from home are advantageous to business in multiple ways. Being given the opportunity to utilize their unique skillset along with the tax breaks and financial bonuses prove beneficial to them on a personal basis as well.
Incentives for Veterans
As a result of their military experience, many vets are already well-versed in driving large equipment, so driving a commercial truck is easy. Granted, specialized training is required when pursuing it as a career. Fortunately, there are government programs that help defray training and housing expenses associated with trucking education and on the job training, such as the Veteran’s Administration Apprenticeship program, Post 9/11 GI Bill, and the Montgomery GI Bill.
- Post-911 GI Bill Apprenticeship Program: As a truck driver, veterans are eligible to receive V.A. payouts that can be used towards training, education, and housing, all while earning a truck driver salary.
- Montgomery GI Bill: This program is available to qualifying veterans and pays a monthly education benefit towards training for a new career.
- Veterans Administration Apprenticeship Program: Available through eligible companies, the apprenticeship and on-the-job training programs provide financial assistance for training as well as a housing stipend for a minimum of six months.
Additionally, for those who are accustomed to driving heavy military equipment, it’s possible to test out of the written portion of the training. As of 2013, in response to the nationwide truck driver shortage, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration passed the rule that veterans who are, or were employed within the last year, only needed to pass the written skills test via the Military CDL Skills Test Waiver. Choosing a truck driving career offers an abundance of advantages including the opportunity to enjoy a flexible work schedule, see the country while earning a paycheck, and working independently.
Attracting Veterans to Truck Driving Opportunities
While the financial incentives can certainly be attractive to veterans interested in embarking on a new career, it’s also a good idea to make the job opportunity as attractive as possible. After all, military life is quite different from conventional jobs. Fortunately, truck driving offers benefits that are unique to other industries.
- A Part of Something Bigger: Our economy relies heavily on the transport of goods, thus truck drivers have the opportunity to be a part of something bigger – the backbone of America.
- Median Salary: The average truck driver pay is substantially higher than that of other industries. In 2018, statistics of the American Trucking Association stated that the average pay for truck drivers was $73,000 annually versus the average $53,000 reported by the Bureau of Labor in regards to more than 800 alternative industries.
- Job Security: The industry has forecast an annual growth of at least 6% in the truck driving industry through 2026, which means job security for dedicated employees.
- Schedule Flexibility: With the various CDL driver needs, veterans entering into the field will have options to choose the type of schedule they desire. This can be especially enticing to military personnel just finishing active duty that want to provide a steady income for their family without being away from them for long periods of time.
Benefits of Hiring Veterans
In addition to their familiarity with operating heavy equipment, the traits and skills of honorable veterans make them ideal truck driving candidates.
- Team Player: Individuals that have served in active duty recognize the importance of being a team player. For this reason, veteran truck drivers focus on the big picture and are willing to work together with peers and employers to achieve a goal.
- Strong Work Ethic: Whether the job requires an attitude of doing whatever it takes to get the job done or being committed to being punctual, taking responsibility for actions, and meeting deadlines, veterans possess work ethics that are beneficial to the trucking industry.
- Attentive and Focused: Being a safe truck driver requires a particular amount of alertness to immediate surroundings while on the road. Additionally, having the ability to focus on details regarding truck care, load requirements, and customer satisfaction come naturally to a veteran.
- Mental and Physical Stamina: The military teaches extreme discipline both physically and mentally. Having the skill of maintaining focus and completing the physical demands of a job, even when tired is largely what makes a veteran the perfect fit for truck driving.
- Exceptional Leadership Skills: While veterans are equipped with the skill of working well with others, they also have excellent leadership skills. They have the confidence and wherewithal to take action and make independent decisions when necessary, and take ownership of these decisions. The best employees are always individuals who possess leadership skills and have the ability to respect chain of command.
Finally, from a financial standpoint, business owners that hire qualifying veteran categories become eligible for a work opportunity tax credit (WOTC). These exemptions generally range between $5600-$9600 per veteran.
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