'Troops to Trucks' initiative kicks off at Fort Lee
May 15, 2012
RICHMOND, Va. -- The military and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles are joining forces to help qualified servicemembers receive transportation-related civilian credentialing.
During the Association of the United States Army Sustainment Symposium May 10, Maj. Gen. James L. Hodge, Combined Arms Support Command commanding general, accepted a certificate from DMV Commissioner Rick Holcomb designating Fort Lee as a third-party testing site for the "Troops to Trucks" program.
The program is the result of a joint effort between the DMV and the military and was developed to provide Soldiers an opportunity to be trained, tested and credentialed for a commercial driver's license. DMV is also working with potential employers in the transportation industry, who may be looking for qualified drivers transitioning from the military back into the community.
"This is one of many actions the military is supporting to ease the transition of separating service members and assist those serving in the National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve," said David J. Kolleda, deputy to the commandant, U.S. Army Transportation School, CASCOM. "Through programs like this, servicemembers can leverage their military training and experience for career opportunities in today's civilian job market."
CASCOM, which is part of the Training and Doctrine Command, is a multifunctional organization which oversees Army combat development, doctrine development, initial military training, and leader development for logistics, human resources and finance. Within CASCOM schools, there are a number of civilian credentialing initiatives in place or in development. These programs are collaborative efforts and are part of a wider government effort looking at how the military is credited for their service and training.
"We were working with the Employee Partnership Office of the Armed Forces, the Teamsters and other organizations to gather information about business needs and the best way to develop a credentialing program. At the same time, DMV was developing their program and we were able to merge our efforts with theirs," Kolleda explained.
The Commonwealth of Virginia is an ideal place to launch "Troops to Trucks" since the state has a large number of military installations, Holcomb said. "Virginia has over 823,000 veterans, more than 20 major military installations and approximately 63,000 active-duty military. Among Virginia's military are a sizeable number who are training to operate large vehicles that meet the definition of a commercial motor vehicle. Through the program, it will be easier for military personnel to obtain a Virginia commercial driver's license."
Beginning July 1, the process for servicemembers to obtain a civilian CDL will be streamlined through a new federal regulation. The regulation gives military CDL holders a waiver for the road skills test. A written test will still be required.
Although the program is geared toward transportation, it is not military occupational specialty specific.
"Our 92Fs (petroleum supply specialist) and 88Ms (motor transport operator) will be able to take advantage of this, but so will other servicemembers with the documented experience and training," Kolleda said.
As a veteran, Kolleda said he was thrilled to see programs like this develop to support the military.
"Credentialing programs like this help our servicemembers, who have supported and sacrificed for this nation. We want to help bring skilled labor to industry and reinvest the knowledge, skills and abilities they've learned in the military back into the community," he said.
In addition to Fort Lee, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., has also been designated as a third-party testing site.
(The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles contributed to this article.)