A new program launched earlier this month can help Wisconsin residents ó including veterans and service members ó receive commercial driver's licenses and guaranteed placement in the trucking industry.
The new training program will channel up to 300 new students into a four-week training course. Upon earning their commercial driver's license (CDL), students will be placed in one of three participating trucking firms ó Schneider National of Green Bay, Wis., Roehl Transport of Marshfield, Wis., and WEL of De Pere, Wis. The newly placed students will become a permanent hire after completing the standard introductory stage.
Applicants must pass eligibility screening to be accepted in the accelerated course, which is currently offered at Fox Valley Technical College and will be offered at Waukesha County Technical College this summer. Related instruction is available at Chippewa Valley Technical College and Milwaukee Area Technical College.
State legislation signed into law two years ago already waives fees for occupational and professional licenses for qualified veterans.
"We're doing everything we can to support our veterans," Gov. Scott Walker said during a brief April 4 ceremony at Waukesha County Technical College.
Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin adjutant general, noted that this program is the latest effort in a campaign to reduce unemployment among service members and veterans in Wisconsin.
"In order to successfully defend your country, you need a couple of important things ó great men and women, which we surely have, and employer support," Dunbar said. "I think [veterans and service members] offer skills that simply don't exist anywhere else."
The new CDL training program is a collaborative effort between the three trucking firms, trucking industry leaders, the state departments of Workforce Development, Transportation and Veterans Affairs, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the Wisconsin Technical College System.
Industry projections suggest that the need for qualified semi-truck drivers ó who on average earn approximately 15 percent above the median wage in Wisconsin ó will grow by 21 percent between 2010 and 2020.