Colonel Adam Rocke (Ret.) Shows How Veterans are Primed to Improve Your Business's Value Proposition

“Who in here wants to hire a vet today?” Dozens of hands shoot up without hesitation. “Well then, our work is done,” Adam jokingly concluded.
“In all seriousness, hiring a vet? You don’t do it out of pity; you do it because it helps your bottom line. It helps the value proposition of your business. Your business is about winning. It’s about having the competitive edge. And if you look at veterans, we’re winners. [Veterans] developed leadership and character in the service and are committed to a lifetime of service outside of The Service.
“Veterans want to continue to serve in your organizations and in your communities. They will help your communities grow. They’ll be the leaders; they’ll be the mentors; they’ll be the be the followers; they’ll be the coach (and the local tee-ball coach in the local community). So wouldn’t you want people of character like that in your organization? …We’re a perfect fit for your organization, but the difficult part is: How do you connect with [us]?”
Colonel Adam Rocke (Ret.), VP of Military Relations speaking to companies attending the "Recruiting Best Practices" panel at Veterans on Wall Street 

Colonel Adam Rocke (Ret.), VP of Military Relations speaking to companies attending the "Recruiting Best Practices" panel at Veterans on Wall Street 

Adam directed his words to corporate representatives from all of the country who joined gathered at the Veterans on Wall Street (VOWS) 7th Annual Conference in New York City, NY. This all-day program brought together veterans and leaders from the financial services industry, veteran nonprofits, Fortune 500 companies, education, and others to address an array of important veterans-related topics, including employment, recruitment, retention, leadership and skills, and industry investment in veterans.

Moderated by Mike Abrams, Executive Director of the Center for Veteran Transition and Integration at Columbia University, the panel also featured:

  • Felipe Buzaid,  Veterans Program Manager - Facebook
  • Kayla Williams - Director of VA Center for Women Veterans - Veterans Affairs
  • Heidi Gerhard, Head of Talent Acquisition & University Relations - BASF 
Left to right: Mike Abrams, Kayla Williams, Heidi Gerhard, and Adam Rocke

Left to right: Mike Abrams, Kayla Williams, Heidi Gerhard, and Adam Rocke

Ultimately, the panel determined that technology (including social media innovations as well as platforms like the Resume Engine) are becoming the foundation of an effective military recruiting goal. Without the technological backbone, companies vastly limit their scope of opportunity to connect with and understand the veterans that they need. 

You can view Adam’s panel and other speakers/panels from the 7th Annual Veteran Symposium here: https://livestream.com/nyu-tv/VOWS2017/videos/165581774

What is the Military CDL Skills Test Waiver—And How Can You Use It?

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The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Association (FMCSA)  recently announced that more than 18,700 Veterans and members of the Guard and Reserve have completed the Military CDL Skills Test Waiver since May 2012 (more than 5,600 completed in 2016 alone!).  

This growth is a great improvement from when we started educating service members on the program back in 2014. However, many people are still unaware or confused by the waiver. This blog intends to clear up that confusion.

Read below to learn what the waiver is, what it does and how you can use it to further your career.

MILITARY CDL SKILLS TEST WAIVER OVERVIEW

To start your trucking career, you will need to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). To get your license, you must take a CDL exam.

Each CDL test has two components: a practical driving assessment and a written test. However, if you drove large vehicles during your military service, you may be exempt from the driving portion. This past experience can also add $10,000 - $15,000 on top of your annual salary in the trucking industry.

The Military CDL Skills Test Waiver exempts service members who are or were employed in a military position in the last 12 months from taking the driving portion of their CDL skills test. In 2016, the FMCSA made it easier for Veterans and transitioning service members to obtain their CDL by extending the 90-day window to an entire YEAR to waive the CDL practical test for those with military driving experience.

The Military CDL Skills Test Waiver allows State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLA) to “count” two years of Veterans’ safe driving experience in select military vehicles because that experience has value in commercial trucking.

 

HOW THE WAIVER WORKS WITH DOL- APPROVED APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS

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The waiver allows you to get your CDL faster and to count your military experience toward civilian certification; an apprenticeship allows you to get paid, specialized, on-the-job training for your chosen profession.

But why do you need the additional training after you get your CDL?

While the waiver helps you get your CDL quickly and simply, it does not qualify you to drive specialized equipment. For example, most service members have only driven in automatic transmissions, so they aren’t prepared to drive in manual vehicles. Or, you may want to drive a flatbed truck, which takes some additional training on the new equipment.

With your waiver in hand, you can select a company with a Department of Labor Approved Registered Apprenticeship who will train you as an expert in civilian trucking equipment while you get paid and receive regular increases in salary. For more information on apprenticeships, click here: http://info.fastport.com/apprenticeship.for.you.

 

WAIVER QUALIFICATIONS

  • 21 years old or older.
  • Valid non-commercial driver’s license.
  • Copy of your military driver’s license
  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Permanent Resident Card.
  • No convictions in any motor vehicle that disqualify you from obtaining a CDL. You can find the list of disqualifying offenses on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Website (49 CFR 383.51 (b)) by clicking here.  
  • At least two (2) years of certified military driving experience in an approved vehicle.
  • Employed with the military within the last 12 months (1 year).

 

MILITARY TRUCK QUALIFICATIONS

The following vehicles are examples of the approved vehicles that qualify for military driving experience on the Military CDL Skills Test Waiver:

Skills test waiver sample trucks

The type of vehicle you drove in the military designates the type of CDL for which you qualify. Depending on your past military vehicle experience, you may qualify for one of three different commercial licenses: Class A, Class B, or Class C. Click here to see a CDL License Matrix that lists the vehicle characteristics, required testing, and endorsements necessary for each of the three (3) CDL licenses.

 

STEP-BY-STEP TO USE THE WAIVER

If you meet the above qualifications, take the following steps to use the Military CDL Skills Test Waiver:

  1. Download and print the Military CDL Skills Test Waiver
  2. Fill out each section on the first page, including
    1. Applicant Information
    2. Driver Record Certification
    3. Certification of Driving Experience
    4. Applicant signature and date
  3. Take the waiver to your military commander, and have him or her fill out the second page’s Commanding Officer’s Certification of Commercial Driving Experience. Your commander will also print and sign his or her name and rank along with the date signed.
  4. Bring in person your completed waiver to your state’s DMV, DLD or RMV. All 50 states accept the waiver. (Word to the wise: make an appointment to skip the long lines!)
  5. Take the written portion of the CDL test. Remember that this cannot be waived, so you’ll need to study up a bit. Click here for a great resource for practice. http://www.cdlknowledge.com/cdl-practice-test/.
  6. Wait for approval. Your state’s  DMV, DLD or RMV will notify you if your waiver is approved by phone, email, or standard mail.
  7.  

HAVE MORE QUESTIONS?

Of course, if you have follow-up questions, you can reach out to FASTPORT any time. Just click on the “chat” box on fastport.com or email us at support@fastport.com, and we’ll be ready to help! 

Thank you for your service and for keeping our roads safe!

Veterans Representing Every Military Branch Join FASTPORT Effort to Test and Grow VET Roadmap

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FASTPORT had the honor to connect with Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy Veterans at the Hiring Our Heroes hiring fair at the Mohegan Sun to help match them with great careers. In addition to providing career opportunities in the transportation and agriculture industry, FASTPORT also displayed the revamped online Veteran Employment Transition (VET) Roadmap that gives Veterans and transitioning service members a consolidated site to orient them in their journey to prepare, transition and excel after leaving military service.

 With a “sea of goodwill” for Veterans being at high tide, many Veterans have reported that sea can be difficult to navigate. With so many great resources available, it's hard to know which is best and where to find them. The VET Roadmap was initially released to solve this problem in June 2015 with contributions from leaders in Veterans employment, including FASTPORT. A year later, the George W. Bush Institute and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes Program adopted FASTPORT technology to improve user experience online and make the VET Roadmap even more accessible for Veterans.

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In his introduction to the VET Roadmap, President George W. Bush said, “Transition is difficult, but there is no doubt in my mind that you will succeed if you take responsibility and leverage the tools, programs, and resources that exist for you. The Bush Institute is proud to help…We are providing you with the [VET Roadmap] to help you plan and navigate your transition in the civilian workforce...You will be leaders in our nation for years to come, and as a result of your leadership America will continue to be the greatest country on the face of the earth.”

FASTPORT CEO Bill McLennan echoed President Bush’s statement: “Our nation’s Veterans and transitioning service members are the best equipped citizens we have. They are hard-wired for success in the civilian world, and FASTPORT is privileged to contribute to their successful transition into great careers after military service.”

If you want to have your voice heard to improve the VET Roadmap for your fellow Veterans, get in touch with us at fastport.com today.

 

 

Who Will You Honor This Memorial Day?

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In the wake of The Civil War, war widows began a movement that continues to this day. Its battles had claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history, and those left behind went one-by-one to lay flowers on the graves of both Confederate and Union Soldiers to honor the fallen. It was an act of generosity that caught the attention of the nation and inspired what we now know as Memorial Day.

As we continue this time-honored tradition of honoring the nation’s fallen heroes, we want to recognize the efforts of one of man who gave a voice (and a smile) to an entire generation of American GIs. As an enlisted Infantryman in WWII, Bill Mauldin experienced life on the battlefield and shared the stories of the average Soldiers who endured the dangers, discomforts, and difficulties of war as they worked to fulfill their duties through his characters Willie and Joe. 

Top left: Mauldin’s Pulitzer Prize winning cartoon illustrating the difference between the reality of war and the media’s portrayal of it. Top right: Mauldin’s self-confessed favorite cartoon. Bottom row: Examples of Mauldin contrasting the humor and difficulties of war for the average Soldier.

Top left: Mauldin’s Pulitzer Prize winning cartoon illustrating the difference between the reality of war and the media’s portrayal of it. Top right: Mauldin’s self-confessed favorite cartoon. Bottom row: Examples of Mauldin contrasting the humor and difficulties of war for the average Soldier.

Chicago Tribune reporter Bob Greene worked with Mauldin after he returned from military service and later recalled, "Mauldin, and his work, meant so much to the millions of Americans who fought in World War II, and to those who had waited for them to come home. He was a kid cartoonist for Stars and Stripes, the military newspaper; Mauldin's drawings of his muddy, exhausted, whisker-stubbled infantrymen Willie and Joe were the voice of truth about what it was like on the front lines."

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His cartoons told the realistic story of what is was really like for the “grunts” and were read wherever troops were stationed, whether it was Italy or the United States. Soon after its first publication, the cartoon become a way for the voiceless to catch the attention of top military leaders. In fact, Gen. George Patton threatened to have the Stars and Stripes banned if Mauldin insisted on having unkempt heroes on its pages. That threat ended when one of Mauldin’s fans Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower recognized the cartoon’s worth to the enlisted men it represented.


“Mauldin was an enlisted man just like the soldiers he drew for,” continued Greene. “His gripes were their gripes, his laughs were their laughs, his heartaches were their heartaches. He was one of them. They loved him.”

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As you pause this Memorial Day to remember our nation’s fallen service members, learn more about the incredible life and work of Bill Mauldin, Greene’s entire profile of him at CNN.com.