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Title:Toyota extends veterans hiring program

Author:Lauren Jow/The Orange County Register

Date:January 2013

Source:Reprinted with permission from The Orange County Register

Volume:Volume 3 Issue 78

Veterans searching for jobs in the auto service industry can get a leg up on the competition through Toyota Material Handling, U.S.A.'s "Giving Veterans a Lift" program, which has been extended through December 2013.

The Irvine, CA-based company provides two programs, a $200 discount on operator safety training and a service technician program.

Launched in March 2011, the safety training program originally only provided a $100 discount and trained 20 participants. Since doubling the incentive, the program has attracted 118 veterans in 2012.

The service technician program, which started in July of this year, helps connect Toyota Industrial Equipment dealerships with skilled veterans as service technicians.

For each veteran hired, Toyota will match a dealer's donation up to $500 to Hire Heroes USA, a nonprofit that helps find jobs for veterans and their spouses.

"We just wanted to make sure that the veterans that wanted to acquire a job skill were able to do that," said Jeff Rufener, president of Toyota Material Handling, U.S.A., the national headquarters of North America's top manufacturer and distributor of lift trucks and tow tractors.

The company doesn't anticipate as much participation in the service technician program since it requires more specialized skills, Rufener said.

By the end of the program, participants leave as certified fork lift operators trained in several brands and can get a job anywhere that uses fork lifts, including warehouses, manufacturing plants and docks.

Overall, it's considered a win-win for dealerships and veterans.

"Not so many people are gravitating to the trades as in generations past, so that's caused a shortage of lift truck technicians," Rufener said.

There are about 20 job openings each month for service technicians at Toyota dealerships, he added.

Interested applicants can learn more and apply online at

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