It’s not news to any one that there has been a shortage of qualified truck drivers, even before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies have had to lay off employees across every industry, but the world hasn’t stopped, and that hasn’t changed. Fortunately, transitioning service members could be the perfect solution to your organization’s open trucking positions.
Commercial truck and bus drivers are in high demand with a current shortage of qualified drivers. Service members are a great renewable resource for talent with over 200,000 transitioning out of the military every year. These individuals also come equipped with the skills to get the job done and have an unmatched work ethic. In addition, many occupations in the military require the operation of heavy military vehicles, similar to their commercial counterparts.
The Department of Transportation agrees, and has developed a program to assist service members and veterans in transitioning to civilian transportation careers. These programs are designed to make it easier, quicker, and less expensive for experienced military drivers to obtain Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs).
Military Skills Test Waiver Program
The Military Skills Waiver Program allows veterans and transitioning service members with at least two years of experience safely operating heavy military vehicles to obtain a CDL without taking the driving test (skills test). More than 26,000 individuals have already taken advantage of the program. This program is available in every state and can help your organization save a step and fill your open positions quickly with top qualified talent.
Even Exchange Program
This program allows qualified military drivers to be exempt from the knowledge test to obtain a CDL. When used in conjunction with the Military Skills Test Waiver, this allows a driver to exchange a military license for a CDL. Drivers must provide proof of their medical certificate to apply.
States Currently Participating:
Under 21 Military Driver Program
To assess the safety impacts of allowing qualified military drivers younger than 21 to operate CMVs in interstate commerce, FMCSA has launched a three-year pilot program. With commercial drivers in high demand, these pilot programs are designed to provide civilian career opportunities in transportation to Reserve and National Guard members ages 18-20.
Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Safety Grants
This program provides funds to educational institutions that provide commercial driver training, including accredited public or private colleges, universities, vocational-technical schools, post-secondary educational institutions, truck driver training schools, associations, and state and local governments. These Grants help institutions recruit and train service members and their families for professional bus and truck driving careers.
Tapping into the military community is an effective way to deal with your open positions, especially when it comes to hiring qualified truck drivers. Understanding how your organization can leverage these programs will help to ensure that your talent pipeline is full and your trucks stay on the road.