Troop Transition, a career transition program designed for the exclusive use of those who are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, announced Troops 2 Truckers today, Oct. 6, at the American Trucking Associations Management Conference and Exhibition. The program targets service members who seek post-service civilian employment in the trucking industry.
“Troops 2 Truckers not only provides a path to employment for troops but also helps meet the trucking industry’s need for drivers,” says Kevin M. Denny, chief executive officer of Troop Transition. “According to industry studies, hundreds of thousands of drivers will be needed in the coming years. This huge demand for labor can be met partly by the troops that leave military service and are in need of jobs. Just as importantly, they are people who have a track record of discipline, are drug-free, clean-cut, loyal and mission-oriented — everything a trucking company would want in a driver.”
The American Trucking Associations agrees. “ATA is excited about the work Troop Transition is doing to benefit our returning military men and women, and in turn, the trucking industry,” says Bill Graves, ATA president and CEO. “Currently, many segments of the trucking industry need drivers, and as the economy improves, demand will be overwhelming. The Troop Transition program allows military men and women to have a professional truck driving career the day they leave the base.”
Troops 2 Truckers differs significantly from other driver training programs, according to Denny, because it is designed by trucking industry employers. “Our employer partners literally ‘custom-design’ their next generation of drivers,” he says. “They develop the curriculum and skills training needed to ensure that these new hires exceed their employment standards. Troop Transition employers are willing to accept honorable military experience in lieu of civilian employment and are offering jobs as city, linehaul and long-haul drivers to candidates who have earned a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) through this program.
“While trucking companies cannot recruit directly in the military, as an educational company Troops 2 Truckers provides training to service personnel while they are still on active duty,” Denny says. “For service members, our training utilizes military tuition assistance to cover the entire training program, and leaves G.I. Bill benefits untouched for use in the future. There are no out-of-pocket expenses for these fine men and women.”
Of the more than 200,000 service members who are honorably discharged from the military each year, 85 percent are enlisted personnel who have served for four years, and who chose the military in place of college. “Many of those people have young families and have not had any education or training that would be applicable outside the military,” Denny says. “As many as 40 percent will find themselves living below the poverty line, and 25 percent of those will remain there for life. Our objective is to eliminate some of the hurdles these veterans face and provide transitioning service members with professional commercial trucking industry training, CDL certification and a real job offer at zero out-of-pocket cost.”
Upon successful completion of the Troops 2 Truckers program, transitioning service members have the option to accept a job offer from the trucking industry’s leading companies. “We realize that hiring a driver is a risk management decision for trucking companies,” Denny says. “By working with Troops 2 Truckers, trucking companies that are already investing large amounts of time and money to recruit, train and hire drivers can have access to candidates who are trained to their specifications. Troops 2 Truckers can bring the industry ideal, new drivers and do so very cost-effectively.”
Designed for Reservists, National Guardsmen and active-duty servicemen and women, the on-base Troops 2 Truckers training program lasts 12 to 14 weeks, including two weeks of classroom instruction and 10 to 12 weeks of driving training. Troops 2 Truckers currently is offered at Camp Pendelton, Calif., in conjunction with Palomar College. Troop Transition expects the program to be located on three to five additional military installations across the country by 2009.