It’s no secret: the United States is facing a crippling shortage of truck drivers. Now, the American Trucking Associations think they’ve got a (partial) solution to that problem: hiring 100,000 military veterans over a two-year period.
Recent reports suggest the U.S. trucking industry is short about 30,000 drivers, with the shortage expected to increase to an astounding 200,000 by the year 2024.
Meanwhile, thousands of military veterans remain jobless. That’s why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation created the ‘Hiring 500,000 Heroes’ Campaign.
Given the numbers, it makes sense to encourage trucking companies to hire veterans. American Trucking Associations (ATA) president and chief executive officer Bill Graves thinks it’s a perfect fit.
“There’s no higher calling for an American than to serve in our armed forces, and I’d like to think that driving a truck – delivering America’s most essential goods safely and efficiently is also a high calling,” Graves said. “That’s why we’re so proud to be partnering with Hiring Our Heroes and committing on behalf of the trucking industry to hire 100,000 veterans over the next two years.”
Duane Long, a chairman at the ATA and Raleigh, North Carolina-based logistics solutions company Longistics, says the plan “is a win-win for all involved … a win for those veterans returning from service looking to transition to civilian life and a win for the trucking industry which is dedicated to find[ing] dedicated, hard-working and safety-minded people to fill many thousands of open positions as drivers or technicians.”
It’s not yet clear how the plan will work. Will the government provide carriers incentives to hire returned soldiers? Will there be community-based efforts to raise awareness about these opportunities for veterans? The details remain unknown.
Still, truck driver and veteran Alphonso Lewis, who drives for Kansas-based YRC Freight, says it’s a wise move. “As a veteran and a professional truck driver, I know that my fellow service members have what it takes – and what fleets are looking for – to safely move America’s freight,” Lewis said. “Driving a truck has been a tremendously rewarding career for me … and I know that there are thousands of potential drivers in our military just looking for the opportunity.”