Indeed offers 500 scholarships for veterans to earn their CDL

May 4, 2022

Ryan Witkowski


Job search website Indeed’s mission is to “help people get jobs.” They’re taking that mission one step further with the Drive for 500, by funding 500 Class-A commercial driver’s license training scholarships for veterans and their spouses.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to help more people find jobs and shorten the time it takes to find jobs,” Matthew Jensen, Indeed’s senior director of global government relations and public policy, said during a May 2 news conference. “With Drive for 500, we’re honored to help the military community find jobs in the critical industry of ground transportation.”

The initiative is a collaborative effort by Indeed, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes, TransForce Group, and Troops Into Transportation. The goal, according to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce news release, is to help “eliminate the truck driver shortage while helping veterans and their families.”

“Not only will Drive for 500 help move goods across America,” the news release read, “but it will connect our veterans and their family members with high-demand, high-paying transportation careers.”

The scholarships will cover all costs, excluding meals and incidental costs, for those participating. The scholarship includes:

  • All required theory and behind the wheel training
  • Travel and transportation to the training locations
  • Lodging
  • All training materials
  • U.S. DOT physical and testing fees

To be eligible for the scholarships, interested students must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a military veteran with an honorable or general under honorable conditions, in the National Guard, a Reservist, or a military spouse.
  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Pass a required drug test.
  • Meet school admissions requirements.

You can apply for the scholarship program by filling out the online application.

Veterans in trucking

Over the past year, concerted efforts have been made to adding veterans into the transportation industry. In December, the White House estimated approximately 70,000 veterans are likely to have certified trucking experience in the last five years.

The federal government contends that veterans could play an important role in solving some of the current supply chain issues. “Our nation’s veterans are excellent candidates to help address these challenges and build the next generation’s trucking workforce,” a White House statement said.

On April 4, President Biden announced Task Force Movement: Life-Cycle Pathways for Veterans and Military into Trucking in an effort to transition veterans into a career in trucking. Its mission, according to the White House, is to, “support the recruitment and retention of veterans and military family members.”

Patrick Murphy, an Army veteran and former U.S. House of Representatives member from Pennsylvania, serves as chair of the task force. He says the scholarship program is an important step toward solving current issues in the industry.

“The reason why President Biden created Task Force Movement is because it requires a public and private partnership to address the nationwide shortage of truck drivers,” Murphy said. “The Drive for 500 is the first step in closing this gap. It will attract and train veterans and their family members by connecting them to high-demand, high-paying jobs in the trucking industry.”

Part of the efforts of the Biden administration’s 90-day Truck Action Plan was to establish registered apprenticeships for veterans and transitioning service members. According to the White House, 100 major companies launched apprenticeship programs for veterans over that 90-day window.

The ‘driver shortage’ myth

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has adamantly refuted the idea of a driver shortage. In a November 2021 statement, the Association said poor driver retention – spurred by a number of issues that have troubled the industry – is fueling the perceived shortage of drivers.

“A careful review of the facts paints a completely different picture, one that is marked by retention issues and, at times, an unattractive working environment due in large part to long hours and inadequate compensation,” the report said.

It’s the Association’s stance that remedying some of these long-standing issues – such as lack of safe parking and pay for detention time – will improve working conditions for drivers and help to reduce the nearly 90% turnover rate seen throughout the industry.

Currently, the Association is supporting bipartisan legislation, HR7517, which would eliminate the overtime exemption for truckers from the Fair Labor Standards Act allowing drivers to be paid for the time they are detained at a shipper or receiver. LL

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