Celebrating Veteran’s Day In The Trucking Industryby Jake Tully - Published: 11/08/2017
Truckers aren’t always born into driving families or a local trucking culture, they come from many different background and walks of life. In fact, if one were to ask the majority of individuals with a trucking job today how they came upon their current position it’s not unlikely that many of the responses from drivers would be somewhat surprising.
Some American truckers come from construction backgrounds, farming families, or simply an interest in different types of motor vehicles. Another large group of drivers coming into the industry, however, are those with a military background.
While the trucking industry continues to grow and react to the ever-increasing need for more drivers on our roads, U.S. Veterans are a logical choice for individuals to fill those positions.
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Still, with the number of Veterans in the country taking on a truck driving job increasing, many wonder how the industry can help celebrate our men and women on holidays such as Veteran’s Day. In what capacity can we recognize and honor our fellow Americans who have demonstrated a continued effort to serve our country – both in and out of the truck. Luckily, there are several ways in which the industry can give thanks to U.S. Veterans who find themselves on the road.
How To Recognize U.S. Veterans in Your Fleet
The first step in recognizing service people amongst those in a fleet is quite literally recognizing who has a past in the military field.
Some employers in the trucking industry will be incredibly open about promoting certain positions to veterans or offering some sort of training program exclusive to those who have served. Other trucking companies will simply welcome veterans by including information within their recruiting department that signifies a welcomed atmosphere for Veterans.
While employers would do well not to single out U.S. Veterans in their fleets and make them feel uncomfortable or make them feel as though they must divulge information about their military career, there are ways in which a company can still show the proper reverence for their employees with a military background.
Companies can ask for their employees to willingly submit their status as a veteran, either through a company-wide campaign, or even something as innocuous as posters on the bulletin board in a company break room.
The main objective in identifying veterans at your company is to not make them feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed due to their history in the military and the ensure them that the recognition they may be receiving is strictly meant as a positive identification, not one that isolates them from the rest of the team.
Why Veterans In Trucks Matter
The increasing number of U.S. Veterans working in the commercial transportation industry is significant for many reasons. The most important factor as to why there is importance placed upon hiring veterans for commercial trucking jobs is the need to provide veterans in our country with dependable and reliable work within a growing sector of jobs. Freight never ceases to be in demand, and calling upon Veterans to help meet the demands of freight is useful for all parties involved.
Secondly, veterans are proven individuals when it comes to displaying diligence and conscientiousness on the job. Having been part of an organized that is keenly attuned to perfection and hard work, a veteran is an ideal candidate for a job that requires the same level of attention. Choosing a candidate who is quick to learn is an excellent asset to the trucking community at large.
Lastly, it’s important to see diversity within the industry in order to meet the diverse needs of consumers around the country. If the industry continues to work over the same crop of people (i.e. families of truckers and those involved in manual labor) they will certainly find a number of applicants, but they won’t necessarily be hitting all of the potential truckers who are willing to work and who can best help people across the country get the goods they need.
Veterans can be unfortunately underused in many facets of the American job market. Over the years the trucking industry has shown a concerted effort in creating a place for veterans to thrive as drivers.
Celebrating Veteran’s Day In The Industry
While some may say that there is no true holiday in the commercial trucking industry, there are certainly instances in which the industry can honor the hard-working men and women who hold trucker jobs.
And while asking drivers to curb their trucks in order to take a break and enjoy a parade or gala may be out of the question, there are still many ways in which the field of commercial trucking can celebrate.
One of the most effective ways for the industry to celebrate is to offer Veteran’s Day off to their drivers who have previously served in the military. Fleet owners and managers can plan ahead and reshuffle drivers and resources in order to ensure a restful holiday for a veteran is achieved. It may only be one day off out of hundreds over the course of a year, but it will certainly be meaningful.
For the companies that can’t manage to give their veterans the day off, something as simple as a small gathering on in-company celebration at a terminal is an incredibly meaningful gesture. Find a time to provide some refreshments for drivers and allow them to kick up their feet for a moment while they feel valued at their company.
Company drivers aren’t the only ones that can celebrate, however. Independent drivers can also find the time to enjoy themselves on Veteran’s Day. Plan ahead and take a day off to find a local celebration or recognition of Veterans or visit your nearest Veteran’s Hall to be around those who have also served. Nearly every city has some sort of resource for Veterans, and in the Midwest many long-standing Veteran Halls are perfect for these individuals. Michigan alone has some of the most esteemed Veteran outposts in the country. Veterans may find out what is nearby and park their rigs for a few hours.
How To Make The Industry More Veteran-Friendly
While the trucking industry may be, at times, slow to adapt, this does not mean that it is entirely unreceptive to change. Drivers in large states like Texas have seen quite a few changes over the years in accordance with gun control and other safety issues, and across the nation the needs of drivers are being addressed.
With that in mind, the industry does have the power to change, but it will take a great deal of diligence and planning in order to do so, but it is not an impossibility.
One way the industry can help Veterans is to create more positions that are Veteran-friendly. This does not imply that a trucking company must change their positions or expect any less of veterans coming into trucking jobs, but fleets might consider offering more comprehensive training with a Veteran who is interested in trucking or working alongside a Veteran training resource to develop a comprehensive program.
Some companies offer incoming Veterans a special bonus or monetary perk in order to thank them for their service or to entice them to parlay their skills into the truck. This type of offer may not always be feasible for a company, but if the money is there, it is a great way to help out America’s heroes.
Lastly, the simple notion of promoting a trucking company as a Veteran-friendly atmosphere may go a long way. Veterans are always looking where places they will thrive and feel comfortable, and to let these job-seekers know that from the get-go can greatly help all parties involved.
Veterans – Heroes of the Highway
From Florida to California the number of drivers entering the industry from unconventional backgrounds is rising. In the world of trucking, we are incredibly lucky to see so many Veterans making the transition from service member to truck driver.
No matter how impressive these individuals may be, it is nonetheless important to recognize that enculturating the world of truckers is a two-way street. Only through the continued efforts of trucking companies will U.S. Veterans find meaningful and empowering job opportunities like truck drivers.
For the trucking company that wants to bring on Veterans to their team, it only takes a small amount of thoughtfulness, ingenuity and compassion to let the men and women who serve our country also serve our roads.