Insights - March/April 2017 - 26
A Case Study in Military
erner Enterprises' military
recruiting commitment is and has
been a featured workforce development
program for more than a decade, resulting
in a total of approximately 25,000 new
driver hires. Assistant Vice President Jim
Morbach explained to Intermodal Insights
how and why Werner's driver program
works, and why it was developed.
Werner Enterprises stresses its military recruiting commitment
with "Freedom Fleet" trucks.
"We feel it is our American duty to take care of the men and
women who served the country once they leave the service,"
Morbach said, outlining the reason behind the pioneer driver
transportation company to work with the Veterans Administration
and the Department of Labor to establish an approved
apprenticeship program for drivers. Two years ago, a diesel
mechanic apprenticeship was added.
Through funding from the post-9/11 GI Bill, the costs of truck
driving school are paid, Morbach said. In addition, once they are
on board at Werner, drivers can earn an additional $24,000 over
two years, tax-free, over and above their regular paychecks. For
mechanics, the additional income on that basis is $28,000 over
From the carrier's standpoint, there are multiple advantages.
One is that Werner's retention of drivers with a military
background is much better than for other drivers, leading to a
lower turnover rate. That result addresses one of the trucking
industry's long-standing concerns.
with about 800 truck driving schools which are the source for
most of the veterans who are hired. During 2013 and 2014,
Werner acquired two driving schools to enhance its internal hiring
Morbach emphasized that Werner remains committed to its
military hiring program even though there appears to have been a
lull in the driver shortage. The consistent pressure to attract more
drivers has been another persistent industry issue. The carrier is
26 Intermodal Insights | March/April 2017
building a full team of staff focused solely on military hiring.
"We offer a career path to veterans because we are such
a large organization and a global company," Morbach said.
"They may start as a driver, and move to the safety department,
become a fleet manager or obtain another position. Our goal is to
educate them about trucking and provide opportunities, just like
the type of choices they had inside the military.
executive said. "We are boots on the ground. It's a big step to get
into trucking. We want to make sure they are prepared. We have
a structured presentation that we give to all students that is very
worker. Werner has a "Freedom Fleet" of trucks that have military
themed decals on the side of the trailer to show the carrier's
support. Veterans drive all of those trucks. Every veteran who
drives for Werner is issued a decal for the side of the tractor
recognizing their military service and veteran status. Drivers can
receive a truck with an automatic transmission if they wish. There
also are networking programs to provide support from other
Werner ex-military workers.
As a direct result of the program, which has earned Werner
multiple recognitions as a military-friendly employer, Morbach
said 20 percent of the carrier's workforce comes from the ranks
of veterans, and 16 percent of drivers served in the military.