On July 24th, our HR manager and I represented TKO Graphix at a job fair sponsored by HVAF  (Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation.) The organization is “Dedicated to eliminating homelessness among veterans and family through education, prevention, supportive services, and advocacy.” We met a lot of outstanding people, shared the opportunities at TKO, and left with a stack of resumes and applications. It was a success. We also talked with veterans who impressed us, but didn’t fit any position we had available. One of the reoccurring occupations being sought was driving a truck. These were veterans who had driven trucks in the military, had the experience, but many lacked a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License.) Learning there were unemployed vets who were experienced truck drivers surprised me.

Trucking Needs 200,000 Drivers—Right Now

The July 15th issue of Transport Topics shared that the trucking industry needs 234,000 drivers—not tomorrow or next week, but today. Considering the industry is saddled with over 90% driver turnover, thousands of boomers retiring, and Hours of Service regulations affecting driver income, it will take approximately 100,000 new drivers per year for the next ten years to maintain current levels. Houston, we have a problem. We’ve shared What to do about the Truck Driver Shortage and how the driver shortage affects us all, Life in America without Trucking, and in 2012 we talked about How new CDL Laws helped Veterans and Truckers. At that time, the new CDL regulations hadn’t been ratified by every state in the union—now they have been.

Veterans may be Credited for their Military Driving Experience

“In May 2011, the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) finalized the Commercial Learner’s Permit rule. Within that rule is a provision that gives State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs) the authority to substitute two years of CMV safe driving experience in military equivalents of commercial motor vehicles, for the skills test portion of the commercial driver license skills test. Military drivers must apply within one year of separation from active duty.”

Do the Math

We have thousands of unemployed military veterans many of whom are experienced drivers. The trucking industry is short thousands of drivers. And yet, other than a few exceptions such as Celadon Trucking, most industry leaders are attempting to recruit new drivers through outdated and ineffective methods. If what you’re doing isn’t working—doing more of the same isn’t the answer. Here’s my call to action.

  • Trucking companies—contact veteran organizations and find experienced drivers.
  • Veterans groups—reach out to trucking companies and share information about qualified veterans.

In this case, 2 + 2 could equal 10,000 jobs filled. If you’d like to donate or volunteer with HVAC, here’s the link donate to HVAF. Now go hire a veteran.