January 24, 2017 11:50 AM, EST

USA Truck Launches Military Transition Program

USA Truck

USA Truck in Van Buren, Arkansas, a national logistics company, has launched its Military Transition Apprenticeship Training Program to expand its outreach with U.S. military veterans.

The program is for transitioning service members who are eligible for GI Bill and post-9/11 employment training benefits. The program enables eligible veterans to receive Class A Commercial Driving License training with "no upfront costs," said Martin Tewari, president of trucking at USA Truck.

USA Truck ranks No. 53 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers.

With cooperation from the U.S. Veterans Administration and the Department of Labor, the program allows veterans to start employment at USA Truck while receiving earned benefits from the VA of $1,200 per month or more for up to 15 months, Tewari noted in a news release.

Training to earn a CDL can cost in the range of $4,000 to $6,000, said Steve Brantley, director of driver recruiting for USA Truck. First-year truck drivers in Arkansas earn on average between $30,000 and $35,000, but with a few years on the road, they can earn $45,000 to $50,000, Brantley added.

According to USA Truck's website, the company offers tuition reimbursement up to $5,000. Tuition costs are also paid at a USA Truck-sponsored school such as University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.

Other trucking companies in Arkansas known to have similar military transition programs include J.B. Hunt Transport Services and Maverick USA Inc., Brantley said.

Military veterans make up more than 21% of USA Truck team members ,and the company has earned the Pro Patria Award, the highest-level award from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. It is given for "outstanding leadership and practices, including adopting personnel policies that make it easier for employees to participate in the National Guard and Reserve. The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve is a U.S. Department of Defense program established to "promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers."

USA Truck also takes part in Hiring Our Heroes, a program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, to help veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses "find meaningful employment opportunities."

Working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's network of state and local chambers and strategic partners from the public, private and nonprofit sectors, the goal is "to create a movement across America in hundreds of communities where veterans and military families return every day."