The current truck driver shortage of about 60,000 is only expected to increase and is even predicted to triple in the next seven years. It’s certainly true that “if you got it, a truck brought it,” so something must be done – but what? Well, the answer just might be military veterans.
Currently, the average truck driver age is 55 and thanks to retirements, the industry’s driver shortage isn’t getting any better. This had led to some changes in the trucking industry such as raised salaries and more flexible schedules, which has attracted some interest, but it just isn’t working fast enough. This is why many trucking companies are turning their focus to military veterans to fill the driver’s seats.
“There’s so much potential for veterans in this industry, so we’ve established a support effort to help them develop rewarding careers that match their skillset with our opportunities,” said John Roberts, president and CEO of J.B. Hunt, a trucking company that just reached its goal of hiring 10,000 military veterans in five years.
Whether it’s a program aimed at helping veterans start a career in trucking, an individual trucking company’s personal goal to get military veterans in their trucks, or even FMCSA’s Under 21 Military Driver Pilot Program, the entire trucking industry is starting to realize that a partnership between military veterans and the trucking industry just seems to work.
“There are many similarities between the two industries, including the machinery and equipment, operations and emphasis on safety. It’s particularly relevant for those veterans who have operated military vehicles,” explained veteran and professional truck driver Gary Helms in a recent article.
“Veterans have the knowledge, training, and qualities required to be successful, including discipline, dedication, strong work ethic, teamwork and leadership skills, which is why trucking companies want more skilled veterans to join their companies and become a part of this great industry,” he continued.
These days, at least one in 10 truck drivers are military veterans, which is twice the amount of veterans participating in the workforce in general, according to a recent study. The hope is for that number to keep increasing and the driver shortage to keep decreasing.
“These military service members who transitioned into careers as professional drivers are hard-working, dependable, motivated, ethical and disciplined team players – an asset to the trucking industry and their companies,” said Brad Bentley, President of FASTPORT, a program aimed at helping veterans get hired and transition back into civilian life.
Military veterans are certainly our country’s heroes, but our country’s truck drivers just might be the next best thing.
If you’re a military veteran looking for a new fulfilling, important career, Veterans in Trucking is a great place to start.