April 26, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a hearing of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee (SVAC), U.S. Senator Angus King talked through potential solutions for veterans seeking jobs that require skills they learned in the military. In a conversation with Shane Liermann, the Deputy National Legislative Director for Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Senator King asked whether veterans with appropriate training and experience could fill the commercial trucking labor shortage — ultimately solving two challenges at once. The American Trucking Association reports that the country is currently 80,000 drivers short.
“We desperately need commercial drivers and we've got veterans who have that skill they've learned it in the military and we ought to be able to expedite that process. You're nodding. Can you say yes so it'll be in the record?” Senator King asked.
“Yes, Senator King, you're absolutely right. And DAV fully supports this because we know that is removing another barrier for service disabled veterans into employment. Right. And it's an area of the economy where we need commercial drivers. Correct. I believe they said there was over 80,000 commercial drivers that are a shortage of that many commercial drivers in the country right now. So this is a way to get veterans into needed employment in a very quick way,” Liermann responded.
Senator King followed up, “Well, let me broaden the question a little bit. One of the things that's always bothered me is that people learn tremendous skills in the military and then they come out and they have to go through an entirely new licensing, apprenticeship, delay program. Talk to me about that. Is that something we should be addressing? I realize it's more many times it's a state issue, but if somebody has electronic skills in the military and then they have to go through a lengthy process of relicensing that's expensive and time consuming, I've never thought that made a lot of sense.”
Representing one of the states with the highest rates of veterans per capita, Senator King is a staunch advocate for America’s servicemembers and veterans. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, he has worked to properly honor and recognize the sacrifices of Purple Heart medal recipients, protect veterans from fraud, and expand veteran assisted living services.
Senator King has also been an advocate for the trucking industry and included the DRIVE-Safe Act in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law which established a tucker apprenticeship program.