Commercial Carrier Journal has named Werner Enterprises as the 2018 CCJ Innovator of the Year for its efforts to develop driver and diesel mechanic apprenticeship programs approved by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Department of Labor for military veterans to receive tax-free education benefits from post-9/11 GI Bills while also receiving on-the-job training.
Under the company’s driver apprenticeship program, eligible veterans can receive as much as $23,714.40 in tax-free payments over 24 months on top of their Werner pay. Veterans in the diesel mechanic apprenticeship program can draw as much as $27,813.60 over 36 months.
“We have a lot of military veterans coming back from deployment and we are able to provide them an opportunity to provide a good living for their families and a career path,” said Jim Morbach, Werner’s associate vice president of student and government recruiting. “It starts from the top. Derek Leathers, our president and chief executive officer, said, ‘We can never do enough for our veterans. It is our American duty to help transition them.’”
Werner Enterprises was one of the first large truckload carriers in the industry to actively target returning servicemen and servicewomen Since 2006, the Omaha, Neb.-based truckload carrier has hired more than 25,000 military veterans and veteran spouses. Veterans and their spouses comprise roughly 20 percent of Werner’s workforce, and this year the company has pledged to hire 2,000 military veterans and 250 veteran spouses.
Werner has received a number of awards and recognitions for its efforts to recruit military veterans and their spouses, including multiple “Top 100 Military Friendly Employer” and Top 50 Military Spouse Employer awards by GI Jobs magazine, as well as the Extraordinary Employer Support Award from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve for its support of Reserve components of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Werner was selected by CCJ editors at the 14th-annual CCJ Innovators Summit in Key Largo, Fla. The event gathers current- and previous-year CCJ Innovators for three days of networking, presentations and idea sharing among some of the trucking industry’s most forward-thinking fleets and leading executives. During the year, CCJ, a national leading business magazine for truck fleet executives, highlights one fleet each month as part of its CCJ Innovators program.
Werner Enterprises won the 2018 CCJ Innovator of the Year award in a class of other industry-leading fleets recognized throughout 2017 including Stevens Transport, U.S. Xpress, Southeastern Freight Lines, Groupe Robert, Daseke, Inc., P&S Transportation, Oakley Transport, Heniff Transportation, Hirschbach Motor Lines and Greenbush Logistics.
The CCJ Innovators program is sponsored by Cummins, Freightliner Trucks, Omnitracs and Shell Lubricants.