Original sidebar written for Randall-Reilly LLC

September 6, 2016

Faced with a rapidly shrinking driver pool, trucking companies are in dire need of alternate sources of drivers. One obvious source of drivers is the active and veteran military community, already eager to make the transition to the civilian workforce, and already receiving relevant training in the field.

Last year, ATA estimated that the trucking industry was short 50,000 drivers, a figure that they projected would increase to over 70,000 empty driver’s seats by the end of this year. This constitutes not just a shortage of potential drivers, but of qualified ones, since the majority of applicants (88% in 2014) were not qualified according to a potential employer’s carrier qualification process. Add to that an average driver age in the mid-50s looking toward retirement, and the problem is only going to continue growing in the next few years

In the same 2015 report, ATA estimates that the trucking industry would need to hire almost 90,000 new drivers each year for the next ten years to not only halt, but actively combat driver pool shrinkage caused in part by retiring generations of drivers, and industry growth. The question becomes, where are these new drivers going to come from?

The FAST Act, passed in December, is already making it much easier for veterans and active-duty servicemembers to get the resources they need. The act requires FMCSA to exempt veterans from CDL testing if they’ve already had CMV training experience during their service, extend the skills test waiver for veterans from 90 days to one year. FMCSA may potentially also be required to credit any CMV training military drivers receive toward applicable CDL training and knowledge requirements, although this particular rule has not yet been finalized.

FMCSA has already put up a website specifically for that purpose, providing a platform for veterans and active service members to get their CLP or CDL. The website contains resources for guiding the transition of veteran drivers to the civilian workforce, and partners with other groups and companies in order to make

Some larger companies have already begun partnering with the Military community directly in order to open employment channels. Con-Way Truckload in particular is participating in PaYS, (“Partnership for Youth Success”), a program that provides skill training to servicemembers on deployment, and employment interviews for open positions upon their return. Similarly, the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has already begun putting up exhibits at military career fairs, tapping into the stream of veterans attempting to transition to the civilian workforce.

Truckload companies are already pledging to hire large numbers of veterans, recognizing their potential as a powerful remedy to the driver shortage.