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Trucking’s commitment to veterans’ success after military life

Master Sgt. Bryan Sutton, 188th RED HORSE instructor, supervises a student practicing backing maneuvers on the 3T course at Ebbing ANG Base, Ark., August 29, 2018. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Tech. Sgt. John E. Hillier)
November 15, 2019

 I am proud to have served this wonderful country of ours as a transportation specialist and a mechanic in the U.S. Army. I now drive a truck for my profession for YRC Freight for over 27 years.

The transition for me was a smooth one, but for some, it can be daunting making the transition back to civilian life and finding a job. I am proud that the trucking industry is doing their part to assist veterans’ transition from military to civilian life by providing job opportunities and career paths for those who have sacrificed. I am grateful to be part of an industry that gives back to our veterans during a time when they need it most. These brave men and women sacrificed everything to protect our freedom and democracy. Setting our veterans up for success after military life is just one way that we can show our gratitude for their service.

America’s veterans are trained to be the best, whether it’s working in the field or at a field office. That’s why trucking companies actively seek to hire more skilled veterans. Teamwork, leadership, dedication, loyalty and a strong work ethic, is what the industry needs from our veterans, and there are recruiting efforts happening across the country.

Many trucking companies offer free training programs for veterans to prepare them for a job in trucking. There are several scholarship and apprenticeship programs available for veterans to connect them with available industry jobs. The industry also established a partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes Program, which was founded to help veterans and transitioning service members find meaningful employment opportunities.

Filling these jobs can be a win-win. The trucking industry is experiencing a significant driver and technician shortage. There are more than 60,000 jobs available to those who are up for the challenge of delivering America’s freight. Our country truly relies on the trucking industry to deliver the essentials we need every day. I bet most don’t people realize that 80 percent of American communities rely solely on trucking as the transportation to deliver everything they eat, wear or use, including clothing, food, water and medication. Trucking delivers safely and on time, through rain, snow, sleet or shine, to keep our lives and communities supplied, economy thriving and this great country strong.

There are many similarities between the trucking industry and the military. There is also a genuine camaraderie throughout the industry. The trucking industry is seven million strong, including 3.5 million hardworking drivers. We take great pride in making important deliveries and getting the job done within a commitment to safety.

I encourage returning veterans to consider the jobs the industry has to offer. There are also office jobs, including dispatchers and technology staff who help keep the industry moving. These jobs offer great starting salaries and benefits and provide the training needed to jumpstart a career. Veterans can learn more about the available jobs and resources online.

With so many positions available, I believe there is a job for veterans in trucking. And it’s a job one can take considerable pride in. Join us and help keep our country moving and economy strong.

Alphonso Lewis, Sr. is a professional truck driver with YRC Freight in Montgomery, Alabama and is a member of Trucking Moves America Forward (TMAF).

All opinion articles are the opinion of the author and not necessarily of American Military News. If you are interested in submitting an Op-Ed, please email [email protected].