At the beginning of 2013, an estimated 844,000 veterans were unemployed and looking for work, including 252,000 post 9/11 veterans. According to the White House report, "Fast Track to Civilian Employment," there is somewhere between 240,000 to 360,000 service members who separate from the military each year. A million more are expected over the next several years.
A new and expanded advertising campaign and recruitment initiative, the Prime Inc. Military Fast Track Program, launched this week in Fort Bragg, NC. Designed to help military personnel make a successful transition to the civilian labor market, the campaign is part of an incentive to help increase veteran employment opportunities following the Military Commercial Driver's License Act of 2012, signed into law last year.
The legislation makes it easier for veterans to get their CDL license by allowing states to waive residency requirements and states to issue CDLs in conjunction with the Department of Defense.
"We have a lot of soldiers and service members looking for gainful employment, but they don't know what they are going to do. The trucking industry has always been a good place for military personnel," Benjamin Abel, military spokesman for Fort Bragg Military Base, said. "There is a national need for transportation workers and we have several thousand veterans who separate from this base each year who need employment."
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be more than 1.5 million trucking jobs between 2010 and 2020. To help fill this need, the state of North Carolina offers a military CDL skills waiver program to help expedite certification processes.
"With the Prime Inc. Military Fast Track Program, veterans have more incentives and career opportunites. They have access to free professional training, shortened contracts, opportunities to become independent contractors and more," John Hancock, director of recruitment and driving training said. "Since training is free, veterans can also use their G.I. bill to pay for a college degree. In partnership with Bethel University, Prime's online Success Scholars Program allow veterans and their dependents to take college classes at a deep discount, from their truck or at home."
According to the White House report, in 2012, more than 22,000 active duty and reserve members were in truck driving military occupations. Last year, nearly 10,000 separated from the military. By 2020, the Department of Labor estimates that the demand for bus and truck drivers will increase 17.1 percent.
"Prime's Military Fast Track is going to help these veterans become their own boss in a new civilian driving career that offers high income potential and professional independence," Hancock said. "North Carolina is only our starting location. The recruitment drive will expand this year to other military bases throughout the United States."
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