By now, you’re probably already aware that there are projected diesel mechanic and truck driver shortages. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), close to 100,000 new truck drivers will be needed over the decade span from 2014-2024. The BLS states that about 32,000 diesel mechanics will also be needed in the same time span.
Now there are several explanations for the shortage in both categories. For instance, when it comes to both professions, the average pay is in the $40,000-$45,000 range – and while that’s not chump change, it’s usually not the salary that professionals are looking for. Secondly, there are the rigors of the job. Diesel mechanics may have to work nights and weekends, while truckers may spend more time in their truck cabs than they do in their own homes. And finally, there’s the training and education aspect that both professions require for employment qualifications. While four-year college isn’t a requirement, usually some trade school and experience is.
U.S. Xpress just got some good news when it comes to training and education, specifically when it comes to veterans. As you likely know, it can be a struggle for veterans to return to the workforce after their service has ended. But it just got a little bit easier at U.S. Xpress thanks to its recent accreditation as a Post 9/11 GI Bill Apprenticeship Program. This means that any eligible veteran is able to receive a tax-free education while training as either a truck driver or a diesel mechanic with U.S. Xpress. According to the company, U.S. Xpress is one of the first trucking companies in the country to receive such accreditation.
Here’s a look at the terms of the program:
- Eligible veterans will receive up to $27,500 worth of education benefits in addition to their base salary from U.S. Xpress. Education benefit allocations are based on years of military service.
- The company estimates that veterans entering the truck driving program may earn up to $82,000 in their first year with the company, while those entering the diesel tech field can earn as much as $50,000.
“Veterans have a sense of productivity, accountability and a ‘can-do’ attitude that will serve them well in the trucking industry, which is why we actively look to hire veterans in every aspect of our company,” Eric Fuller, president and chief operating officer of U.S. Xpress, said in a press release.
What’s more is that by hiring veterans through this program, two issues can help be resolved – those being the driver and diesel mechanic shortage as well as the veteran unemployment rate. Fuller even went on to explain in the official announcement of this accreditation how this initiative allows veterans to transition out of the military with solid financial support while gaining education and experience to begin a new career.
The recent accreditation is nothing new at U.S. Xpress, however. In 2016, the company launched a Military Recruitment Initiative in an effort to help veterans transition out of the armed forced and into a new career. The recent approval is somewhat of a cherry on top of U.S. Xpress’ long-standing support of veterans.
While we noted that U.S. Xpress is among the first in the industry to receive Post 9/11 GI Bill Apprenticeship Program accreditation, we certainly hope that it’s not the last for the issues it helps resolve – both when it comes to the trucking field and to getting veterans back into the workforce. The domestic trucking industry is of incredible importance to the U.S. economy, as it’s responsible for the transportation of about 80 percent of the nation’s goods. And, of course, for trucks to be delivering goods, they need to be in good working order, which is where the mechanic side of things plays an important role.
Here’s to hoping more companies receive the same accreditation that U.S. Xpress has. It’s a win-win all around.