America continues to be the greatest country and strongest symbol of democracy in the world. As a military veteran and professional truck driver, I am a strong believer that providing our service members with the resources they need while transitioning from the military into civilian life is the least we can do to repay our veterans. That is why I am proud that the trucking industry is committed to doing our part and providing job opportunities and career paths for those who have sacrificed.
Thankfully, there are many positive recruiting efforts happening across the country. Many trucking companies are actively seeking veterans to fill positions within the industry and offering free training programs for veterans. There are also several scholarships and programs to connect skilled veterans with available jobs in the industry. One great example is when trucking partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes Program, a program that helps veterans and transitioning service members find careers in the trucking industry. The industry made a commitment to hiring 100,000 veterans.
What’s inspiring is that many transitioning service members join the trucking industry after their military service because 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.
There’s also a genuine camaraderie among the 7 million professionals within the industry, including the 3.5 million professional truck drivers in our country, because we share a common goal and commitment to a greater cause: safely delivering America’s essential goods to communities and businesses across the country to keep our country moving forward. We take strong pride in our jobs and our industry’s commitment to safety, knowing that we are delivering the goods that Americans rely on every day and keeping those we share the road with safe.
Another reason that veterans should choose to join the trucking industry is the types of jobs available, allowing veterans to choose based on their interest, areas of experience or skill set, whether its driving or serving as a technician. These jobs offer veterans a good-paying job and steady income, great benefits and a life-long career path.
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.
The time is now to join the industry as it faces a driver and technical shortage of more than 50,000. Hiring more veterans helps the industry fill open positions with skilled and well-qualified workers – keeping the industry pipeline, and this great country, strong.
The industry remains dedicated to offering career resources and opportunities to our nation’s veterans who can join me in delivering to the 80 percent of American communities who rely solely on trucking for the delivery of their goods. This Veterans Day, we thank our comrades in arms – all the brave men and women who took an oath to protect and defend our Constitution, freedom and liberties. Our veterans proudly answered the call to duty and because of their self-sacrifice and service, they deserve gratifying and sustainable jobs, like those in trucking.
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Gary Helms is a veteran and a professional truck driver in Cleveland, Tenn. He’s also Covenant Transportation & Member of Trucking Moves America Forward.