How to Improve Military Talent Acquisition in the Trucking Industry

May 20, 2024

How to Improve Military Talent Acquisition in the Trucking Industry

Most businesses today understand the value of the veteran workforce within their organization. Yet, many still find it challenging to tap into this essential pool of talent. Why? 

Individuals transitioning from the military, and their spouses, face significant geographic dispersion and strict transitionary timelines. This unique setting implies that frequent and early-stage talent acquisition strategies are key, but also challenging – many companies find reaching this talent to be resource (time, money, travel) prohibitive. 

On top of the geographic and timing challenges, the Department of Defense (DoD) prioritizes approved Department of Labor (DoL) Apprenticeship and SkillBridge programs. And while any company can create a SkillBridge or apprenticeship program, it can take anywhere from months to years to get the program certified, and even longer to geographically expand it.  

For this reason, many companies find value in partnering with other SkillBridge program and apprenticeship providers to effectively market their business to the military community and hire transitioning service members. 

How to Find Partners to Fuel your Military Hiring Strategy 

Many private and public sector resources are available to help companies more efficiently find and attract talent from the military community. While this list is not exhaustive, the below organizations are both sizable and reputable. 

The U.S. Department of Labor 

The U.S. Department of Labor offers a Registered Apprenticeship Resource Hub with a partner finder feature. You can utilize the platform to find already approved apprenticeships and get in touch with different companies depending on your hiring objectives. 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) Foundation 

Since its inception in 2011, Hiring Our Heroes has stayed committed to its mission of connecting the military community with civilian companies to create economic opportunity and a strong and diversified workforce. 

A non-profit organization, HOH hosts regular military recruiting events both online and in-person and serves as a conduit between employers and specialized training and employment providers they can partner with.  

How to Attract Veterans to Your Open Roles 

In addition to developing strategic partnerships, companies must ensure that their own marketing and advertising materials, as well as any internal processes focused on veterans are well-defined. Having a military talent acquisition and retention strategy is key to being not just veteran friendly, but veteran ready. 

TransForce’s top 5 recommendations for employers: 

1. Speak the language. 

60% of veterans struggle to explain how their military experience would interest a civilian employer and list this as their most significant challenge in finding a job. 

Your first line of contact in HR should be knowledgeable of the unique qualities Military Community offers – Veterans, Guard/Reservists, Spouses or Dependents. 

Provide an opportunity to say YES by using inclusive and clear language in job descriptions. 

Examples of inclusive language might include: 

    • “Military highly encouraged to apply.” 
    • “Over 36% of our team have military affiliation.”  
    • “We offer an apprenticeship program for veterans.” 


2. Remove guess work from the career path. 

Service members are accustomed to well-defined career progression offered through the military. For employers in the civilian world, it’s important to be clear about the application procedure for your business and the specific role. You want to paint a picture of what employment and growth at your organization looks like. 

Detail Procedures 

    • Ensure all necessary job information is in your collateral and website. 
    • If you require training for the role, explain the certification process. 
    • Be clear about whether your business pays for reskilling or accepts the G.I. Bill. 

Simplify Applications 

    • Revise and shorten the application process if applicants are low. 
    • Adopt a more high-touch follow-up procedure for veteran candidates. 

Highlight Career Path 

    • Veterans are accustomed to growth on 2–3-year cycles, highlight their advancement opportunities early on. 

3. Ensure representative collateral and branding. 

Your brand materials give a snapshot of your organization and help recruits to imagine themselves as a part of your team.  

    • Are your organizational values and commitment to inclusion evident in your website imagery? 
    • Do you have a dedicated section of your website that speaks to recruiting veterans? 
    • Does the language on your website show that you respect and understand the needs of veterans? 

Be sure to highlight any training programs you have for veterans, VA benefits programs, feature your military recruiters, highlight the veteran culture in your workforce and more.

4. Emphasize quality of life and compensation. 

Like any employee, veterans are interested in employers who can offer competitive pay and quality of life. For employers invested in military talent acquisition, you may wish to consider: 

    • Becoming and approved apprenticeship program (or utilizing a staffing partner who is). 
    • Offer financial coverage for reskilling or training. 
    • Highlight core benefits like weekly pay, working hours, and other distinguishing benefits (401K match, flexible time off, etc.).

5. Establish a Veteran mentorship program. 

As previously stated, attracting talent from the military alone is not enough to meet your objectives. You need to be able to retain the great talent you’ve found. Mentorship programs for the military community employed in your business are a key strategy for many employers. 

By creating a mentorship program linking your internal military community together, you can:  

    • Create a sense of belonging for new veteran hires. 
    • Increases camaraderie amongst veterans.  
    • Further opportunities to network across the organization. 
    • Build your reputation throughout the larger military community. 
    • Boost morale and loyalty. 

This doesn’t have to be complicated – it can be as simple as making key introductions between military affiliated mentors already in your workforce, to newcomers. 

Why Trucking Companies Should Care 

The military instills unique qualities that are highly transferrable to jobs in the transportation sector – including leadership, loyalty, attention to detail, teamwork, dependability, and a focus on safety. 

A vital part of the American economy and workforce, military veterans still face many challenges in transitioning to civilian careers. As a recent study by the Merck Foundation and Hiring our Heroes highlights: 

  • 86% of transitioning military don’t know what they want to do when they exit or retire. 
  • 70% will go one month without a paycheck – half of this group will go 3 months or longer. 
  • Female veterans have a greater challenge in finding their first civilian job. 

These statistics identify a particular onus on employers to do more to find and hire transitioning talent. Do more – but don’t do it alone. Companies of all sizes and budgets can rely on the existing resources available from the public and private sector to scale their military talent programs quickly and effectively.  

How to Find CDL Certified Veterans 

TransForce, through its Troops Into Transportation program, offers companies in the trucking industry the ability to hire CDL certified Military Veterans for their open driving roles. Launched in 2012, Troops Into Transportation (T2T) is the nation’s only nationally recognized SkillBridge program for CDL training and certification. 

Troops Into Transportation trains and certifies over 2,500 members of the military community annually, placing them in CDL driving jobs with carriers of all sizes. T2T boasts an international and domestic recruiting footprint, with authorized CDL training locations across the U.S.A.  

TransForce offers trucking companies varying levels of access to Troops Into Transportation based on their size, budget, and objectives. Companies can actively recruit from the schools, or lease CDL certified veterans on a TransForce W2 (benefitting from TransForce’s approved Department of Labor Apprenticeship program status). 

About TransForce 

TransForce is the leading provider of CDL driver solutions in the United States.  

For over 30 years, the company has been placing highly skilled CDL drivers in jobs they love while helping carriers fill over 15,000 positions annually. More than 3,000 companies rely on TransForce’s array of CDL driver solutions to effectively source and staff qualified, compliant professional truck drivers.