Members of the military make countless sacrifices to keep this country safe. But when they are back home, transitioning into civilian life can often be difficult. This is especially true when it comes to finding employment. Many veterans may feel that their skill sets do not translate easily into civilian jobs.
However, many veterans are uniquely qualified to become truck drivers but may not realize it. With some recruiting tweaks and the right resources in place, you can provide veterans with new job opportunities as drivers. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
1. Use programs already in place
Keep in mind that many military members are already qualified to drive trucks and can transition quickly into civilian driving. Under the Military Skills Test Waiver Program, as long as drivers have had two years’ experience safely operating military vehicles similar to those driven commercially, this portion of the test can be waived. That is, as long as they apply within one year of having a military position that provided this driving experience. There are a few other requirements that have to be met as well, but the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that more than 19,000 current and former military personnel have already received this waiver. This is a potential untapped resource to help attract more military drivers into truck driving.
2. Use the right language
Veterans often have very applicable skills for truck driving, but often the language used in military settings is different in civilian ones. It would be helpful to get a working understanding of Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) codes. These codes are used to describe job qualifications in the military. While there is some variability among branches of the military, they can help give you a general idea of who to look for. A good resource for this is O*Net, which can help you search through MOS codes that might be applicable to your operation for driving or support roles.
3. Understand military culture
A key to attracting veterans or family members of veterans into truck driving is understanding basic military culture. This includes structure, policies, beliefs and values. This can differ from each branch of the military, but many are universal. In order to connect with veterans and build a strong relationship, it would be helpful to have a veteran on staff to help recruit with veteran candidates. They can provide unique insight into how to word job descriptions and interview veterans to attract the best drivers.
4. Provide support when necessary
Transitioning back into the workforce is a major change. So, it’s not unreasonable to think that there may be a few challenges with hired veterans along the way. Outline ways to show support and provide help with anyone who may be struggling. You want to be able to help them overcome obstacles and answer questions or access resources.
5. Work with local military organizations
If you have a military veteran on staff, they can be a great resource to help walk you through recruiting them into truck driving. If you don’t or want to expand your reach, there are many community veterans organizations that may be able to help. These include your local Veterans Service Organization, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post, American Legion post or USO. There are also a variety of non-profits and outreach programs that work to transition and employee veterans. It may be worth creating a partnership with these organizations to help them create a place for qualified military drivers to transition easily.
At Centerline, we pride ourselves on helping veterans transition to the civilian workforce and finding them trucking jobs. We can help your company find qualified veterans to keep your company moving forward. Learn more and request drivers here.