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Vets 2 Trucks puts service members in the driver’s seat 
By Army National Guard Sgt. Joseph K. VonNida, Colorado National Guard Public Affairs 

CENTENNIAL, Colo. – If you’re close to completing your military obligation or were discharged within the last 90 days, Colorado’s Vets 2 Trucks program can put you behind the wheel of a new career.

You may qualify for the Vets 2 Trucks program if you drove heavy vehicles during your time in the military.

Sponsored by the Colorado Department of Revenue and the Division of Motor Vehicles, qualifying applicants can save time and money – up to $700 – and receive a Colorado commercial driver’s license without having to take an additional driver skills test.

“This is a good program and a good idea with added value,” said Lt. Col. Shawn Boller, surface maintenance supervisor for the Colorado Army National Guard. “It is way to capitalize on the system by saving some money and transitioning your experience to the civilian work force.”

This program was implemented May 1 to help veterans transition to a career in the commercial motor industry.

Vets 2 Trucks compliments other Colorado initiatives intended to show the states support for its veterans, said Michael Hunt, deputy director of the Colorado Department of Military and veterans Affairs.

“Some of these Soldiers drive trucks their entire career but by design, things (in commercial vehicles) are different,” said Boller. “Most military vehicles are ‘Soldier proof’ – they’re equipped with an automatic transmission and the features are simplified for ease of use.”

This new program will allow those experienced military drivers to compete for civilian jobs on neutral ground however, “It will not teach you to drive,” Boller said.

 The DMV developed the program in support of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s initiative, “Hire a Colorado Vet,” which is offered through the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

Requirements include two years of military truck driving skills and currently serving or separated less than 90 days ago. Experience must be verifiable and certified by the service member’s commanding officer. Applicants must possess a safe driving record and must pass all required CDL knowledge tests.

“There is some level of trust in the Soldier that must be implemented before a unit commander will certify their experience, but I truly believe those qualified  individuals will be properly vetted through the chain of command and only the most qualified will succeed in the process,” said Boller.

For more information or to sign up for the program, visit the State of Colorado Web Portal at: http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/Revenue-MV/RMV/1251642048814.

11/15/2013