The Transportation Department has announced the start of a pilot program that will allow young, qualified veterans to get truck driving jobs without the need for additional training.
The pilot program was announced by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in Omaha, Nebraska on Tuesday, July 3rd and will be tested for around three years.
According to the Omaha World Herald, the federal pilot jobs program will allow 18 to 20-year-old military veterans and reservists to drive large trucks across state lines if they were given military training that is the “rough equivalent” of a commercial driver’s license.
“Nearly 600 members of the Nebraska Guard hold the military training that is the rough equivalent of a commercial driver’s license,” said Major General Daryl Bohac, adjutant general of the Nebraska National Guard.
“Private trucking companies and Guard members would benefit from hiring younger members who would build stronger ties to their communities and be more likely to stay,” he added.
A nation short of #truckers is turning toward young #veterans as a possible solution thanks to a new federal pilot program @SecElaineChao announced Tuesday in #Omaha with @SenatorFischer, @RepDonBacon and @NETAGBohac.https://t.co/eICcNVJcDg
— Aaron Sanderford (@asanderford) July 5, 2018
The pilot program is expected to last about three years, during which time officials hope that the young military veterans will prove to the public that they are as “reliable and safe” as their civilian trucking school co-workers, aiding the trucking industry in filling the supposed 50,000 truck driving positions currently left vacant.
“This innovative program offers a way for our younger veterans and reservists to transition to the civilian workforce,” said Representative Don Bacon, a retired Air Force brigadier general.
“The Defense Department trains about 15,000 military members a year to drive trucks,” Chao added.
When asked about the possibility of driverless trucks taking away jobs from both seasoned and brand new drivers, Chao claimed that people will still be needed for safety and oversight reasons, securing the need for trained truck drivers in the face of the autonomous driving technology.