Tailoring education & training to veterans

vetThere is plenty we can do to help our veterans in their transition to civilian life, including going to college, getting job training and transferring their military skills to today’s work world.

Colleges and universities award educational credits to veterans for military education, training and experience. This year, we expanded this benefit to National Guard members and Reservists, saving them time and money in completing their degrees.

We also voted to give Iowa service members and veterans more flexibility in using their college aid. Rather than limiting National Guard Educational Assistance to semesters of attendance, or the trimester or quarter equivalent, we are giving them 120 credit hours of undergraduate study so that they can schedule their courses in a way that works best for them.

These initiatives build on other successful efforts to help veterans transition to civilian work. For example, recent experience driving large trucks in the military may allow veterans to bypass the drive skills test when applying for an Iowa commercial driver’s license (CDL).

To qualify here in Iowa, a veteran must:

  • Be an Iowa resident.
  • Hold a valid Iowa driver’s license.
  • Apply for a Military Skills Test Waiver to add a CDL endorsement to their license.
  • Present evidence of military CDL.
  • Provide documentation of military service.

Since the program began in 2011, more than 10,000 men and women nationwide — including Reservists and National Guard members — have taken advantage of this opportunity. This is good for our economy because truckers are in high demand to move goods throughout the country. The American Trucking Association estimates a shortage of 35,000 to 40,000 drivers because older operators are retiring faster than younger people enter the profession.

For more information on transitioning from a military to civilian CDL, go to www.iowadot.gov/mvd/military_cdl.html.

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