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Trucking School Putting a Dent in Veteran Unemployment Rate

(Strafford, MO) -- The unemployment rate is a little more than 8 percent, but the unemployment rate for veterans is even higher.

(Strafford, MO) -- The unemployment rate is a little more than 8 percent, but the unemployment rate for veterans is even higher.

That's why Route 66 CDL and Apprenticeship, Inc. -- a truck driver training program -- helps veterans and supplies drivers for the industry.

The men KOZL's Melissa Stern spoke to at Route 66 all agreed that after being so used to life in the military, transitioning back into normal life was a challenge. They say their lack of experience, education, and being older are the main reasons it's so difficult to find work.

The training director at Route 66 says even those veterans with advanced skills and a four-year degree who are in their prime are still having trouble finding work.                   

"It's scary coming out of the military," says Lonnie Roberts, an Air Force veteran. "I mean, 20 years you're covered, got a job -- a guaranteed job. You've got a family, then coming out to the outside you don't know anybody. You don't have that family network to rely on."

"It was real difficult because I had to adjust being around and doing everyday things that normal people are doing, going from being in the military where you have a set job and you have certain times you have to do certain things," says Willie Shubert, a military veteran.

"You know the military was the only thing I knew for 8 years, so after that it's like, 'Okay, now what?'" says Army veteran Richard Taticek.

Billy Wilson, the CEO of Route 66, says he decided a school would be a great way to help veterans, as well as produce drivers for the industry.

"There are significant unemployment rates for these veterans, these guys and women need jobs when they come home, also they're some of the very best folks we can hire." He says the requirements are similar to what they've dealt with in the military. "They've been used to being away from home. They're very disciplined. They're structured. They really fit our operation."

Training director Gary Martin says the skills a lot of veterans possessed prior to their service are now outdated.

"They've been away from that particular industry for a little while and they need training. They need to be retrained. They need the opportunity to learn new skills to get back into the job market."

The veterans say they are thankful for their jobs at Route 66 because after the military, finding employment is no easy task.

"Its a whole different animal," says Roberts.

"A lot of people say it's easy for military veterans to get a job, but it's very difficult," says Shubert.

"You know, you get lost in the shuffle," says Taticek.

But Martin says employers should be jumping to hire them, because they make some darn good employees.

"They have a purpose in life. They have a direction. They're used to taking orders. They're used to thinking on their feet. They're used to making decisions, which makes them an ideal candidate for what we do."

More information: http://www.rt66cdl.com

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