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Helping America's veterans secure a promising future

Helping America's veterans secure a promising future

On Monday, November 11, Americans across the country will honor our veterans and their families for their tireless work and the sacrifices that have kept our nation safe. And DOT is proud to thank these great heroes for their service by making the transition to civilian careers in transportation easier.

Our veterans have the skills and experience to help rebuild America, so we want to put them to work in the skies, on the roads, and throughout our transit and rail systems.

Photo of U.S. Navy air traffic controllers at work
The experience of these U.S. Navy air traffic controllers should translate into the civilian workplace.

DOT is working hard to connect those who have served abroad to ladders of opportunity here at home.  We’re partnering with the Department of Veterans Affairs to help military personnel and veterans transition from job skills acquired during their service to exciting careers in the transportation industry.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), is working to make it easier for veterans to transition into civilian jobs by helping them get credit for the skills they have demonstrated during their service. As a result, veterans in some states are earning their Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDL) and getting behind the wheel and into the workforce more quickly.

In August, FMCSA announced almost $1 million in grants to six colleges to help increase enrollment in commercial motor vehicle training programs, making it easier for veterans to obtain CDLs. That money has already made a difference to 10-year Army and Illinois National Guard veteran Luis Sanchez, pictured below, who recently obtained his commercial driver's license thanks to Joliet Junior College’s “Driving America: One Veteran at a Time” CDL training program.

Photo of person getting into a truck

And today, DOT is releasing a study recommending changes that would allow returning U.S. military personnel with extensive training and experience operating trucks, buses, and other heavy equipment to more easily and conveniently receive a state-issued CDL.

At the Federal Aviation Administration, where 15,000 employees are veterans, the Veterans’ Training Program eases the transition to the civilian workforce through on-the-job skills training in air traffic control, airway transportation systems, and aviation safety. And in its New Sights Work Experience Program, the FAA works closely with the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to schedule disabled veterans from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom for temporary work assignments before their separations even take effect.

And the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is working with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Joining Forces Initiative and DOD to accelerate credentialing for emergency medical services providers.

We also know that the ability to get access to jobs and job training centers makes a big difference as veterans return to civilian life. Through our Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative, the Federal Transit Administration makes it easier for veterans, active service members, military families, and others to access available transportation to get to jobs, schools, health care and other key places.

But of course, our work is not done.

This nation has a responsibility to help ease our veterans' transition to civilian life, and DOT will continue to find new ways to help them leverage their military skills and experience to secure a promising future.

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I think that these DOT initiatives on behalf of veterans are very impressive. Allowing men and women to get credit for skills that have already demonstrated proficiency in during their service is an important idea, and I hope that it will expand beyond just Commercial Driver's Licenses. Accelerating credentialing for CDLs and emergency medical service provider licenses is an excellent start to making the transition back into the civilian world a little easier and a little less stressful for veterans.
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