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Commercial Driving is a Great Career Choice for Veterans

An airman secures a munitions kit to a flatbed truck at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Oct. 21, 2019. Photo credit: Air Force Airman 1st Class Christina Bennett
An airman secures a munitions kit to a flatbed truck at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, Oct. 21, 2019. Photo by Air Force Airman 1st Class Christina Bennett.

The vision of Veterans’ Employment and Training Service is to enable the full potential of veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses in the workplace. We seek to match their interests, knowledge, skills and abilities with in-demand quality job opportunities in the labor force. And right now, our nation’s transportation industry is experiencing a massive shortage of a critically important job: commercial drivers. 

According to the American Trucking Association’s 2019 report, the trucking industry will need to hire 1.1 million new drivers over the next decade to replace retiring drivers and keep up with growth in the economy. Credentialed professionals who have earned a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) deliver essential consumer goods nationwide that sustain our economy, especially throughout the pandemic. Veterans and the 200,000 service members that separate from the military each year are a great fit for this occupation and the transportation industry because they understand mission accomplishment, logistics, maintenance and safety.  

Check out these resources that can help veterans achieve their career potential and connect with rewarding opportunities as commercial drivers:   

  • Apprenticeship programs in high demand occupations such as commercial driving provide a paycheck while you learn the skills you need. If you are eligible, your GI Bill benefits can provide a monthly housing allowance in addition to your registered apprenticeship wages – look here for more info. 

  • Check out the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Military Driver Programs designed to connect transitioning service members and veterans with civilian transportation careers. They make it easier, quicker and less expensive for experienced military drivers to obtain a CDL.  

  • Transitioning service members can take advantage of the Department of Defense’s SkillBridge Program to earn a CDL while on active duty. Employers can also use the program to connect with a pipeline of skilled workers. In particular, check out the Teamsters Military Assistance Program offered through SkillBridge. Mario Pucci, a Marine veteran who served on active duty for nine years, took advantage of TMAP and now enjoys a career with ABF Freight Systems.  

  • Visit your local American Job Center to find CDL training and employment opportunities in your community. 

  • You should also know that some workers may qualify for priority employment and training services at American Job Centers under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (known as WIOA). Call the toll-free help line to see if you qualify at 1-877-US-2JOBS (TTY: 1-877-872-5627). 

Are you interested in a different career path? An employer looking to hire? We offer a variety of tools and resources for veterans, military spouses and transitioning service members, and employers looking to hire them, at dol.gov/vets

Julian Purdy is the chief of staff of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service. Follow VETS on Twitter at @VETS_DOL or visit us on LinkedIn

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