Program drives new career option for military veterans

Many carriers have implemented programs to lure veterans into the trucking industry. Veterans have many of the key attributes that carriers look for: dedication, discipline, and most importantly, a willingness to get the job done and done right.

FMCSA is also trying to assist veterans in finding jobs in the industry, and those efforts seem to be paying off. According to the agency, its Military Skills Test Waiver program has resulted in approximately 6,000 former military personnel obtaining a CDL, with nearly 4,000 more “taking advantage of the program” in the past year alone. These include military men and women from the Reserves, National Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard.

“It is our duty to help returning veterans transition into civilian life, and I am proud that so many have used this program to secure careers in the transportation sector,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Just as important, we want to put their valuable skills and experience to work driving the Nations’ economy.”

Started in 2011, the Military Skills Test Waiver program allows state licensing agencies, including the District of Columbia, the ability to waive the skills test portion of the CDL application for active duty or recently separated veterans who possess at least two years of safe driving experience operating a military truck or bus.

According to FMCSA, waiving this requirement “expedites the civilian CDL application process and reduces expenses for qualified individuals and operating costs to state licensing agencies.”

It makes sense. If you can drive a truck safely in a war zone, you can probably handle typical highway traffic. And we all know, if there is one thing the industry needs, it's more qualified truck drivers.

“In the near future, the need for skilled truck drivers is expected to grow dramatically,” said FMCSA Chief Counsel Scott Darling.  “Having skillful and experienced drivers operating on our roadways will lead to increased safety for every member of the motoring public.”

More information on the program, including application forms, are available at: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration/commercial-drivers-license/military.

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