How to get a CDL if you can’t afford a truck school

Thousands of people want to enter the truck industry each year, and truck-driving academies and carriers-sponsored schools are often the first routes they are thinking of getting a CDL.

However, the cost of a trucking academy, which produces thousands of CDL drivers annually, is about $ 4,000 to $ 6,000. Career-sponsored schools are also a good option, but some schools require drivers to work for the company for at least a year after graduation.

One option that aspiring truck drivers often overlook is the dock-to-driver program. This can be a struggle to get to school and can be a stepping stone for anyone looking for a local truck job or line hall job.

Yellow CorporationXPO Logistics, Old Dominion, and other under-truck carriers offer a dock-to-driver program that attracts workers at the terminal and ultimately allows them to obtain CDLs as needed. increase.

Tracy Walker, Yellow’s director of safety, said the company’s dock-to-driver program is a good way for workers to enter the industry and see if it suits them.

“This program gives outside candidates the opportunity to learn more about our company and our docks. It gives them time to get to know the people in the facility and then they are our driving academy. It also gives you time to get some of the requirements you need to get in, “Walker told Freight Waves.

Based in Overland Park, Kansas, Yellow transports industrial, commercial and retail products. There are more than 300 terminals across the United States. In 2021, Yellow graduated from the Driver Academy with 650 people and added five new academies this year.

According to Walker, there is a lot of demand for dock-to-driver program positions in Yellow’s national terminals.

“Many of the people who participate in our program are referrals from current employees,” she said.

Workers in the dock-to-driver program have the opportunity to learn everything that happens at the terminal.

“There are many opportunities when you enter the facility,” Walker said. “Port workers have the potential to do everything from operating forklifts and pallet jacks to loading and unloading skills related to dangerous goods placards and learning. Do I want to keep doing this, or driver-related? People can decide if they want to

Yellow’s program gives workers 30 days to become familiar with dock work and organization.

After 30 days, they can enter one of the Yellow Driver Academys. This academy may have different start dates depending on location. Once the driver graduates from the Academy, there is no obligation or obligation to work as a driver in Yellow.

In 2021, Yellow graduated from the Driver Academy with 650 people and added five new academies this year. (Photo: Jim Allen / FreightWaves)

XPO Logistics’ Driving schools give port workers the opportunity to grow into high-paying jobs, officials said. XPO port workers earn an average of $ 20 to $ 25 per hour, depending on the market.

Based in Greenwich, Connecticut, XPO has 294 terminals on its North American network. According to the company, there are currently many job seekers.

“Our job listings have increased by more than 35% compared to this time last year,” XPO said in an email to Freight Waves. “Usually, employees work in the dock for a few weeks before starting training. They can also earn additional wages in part-time dock work while attending training.”

XPO’s driving school is seven weeks, the time it takes students to get behind the car from the classroom as a Class A truck driver.

The company offers a free driver school tuition, worth $ 10,000, with in-training payments and benefits from day one. Graduates are asked to give XPO a two-year commitment.

“We graduated from nearly 900 student drivers in 2021 and aim to double the number of graduates this year,” said XPO. “We also found that our driver school graduates have a much higher retention rate than outside hires.”

Like XPO, Old minion freight line Workers from their docks to drivers and driving school graduates often said they would stay in the company longer.

Old Dominion is one of the largest LTL carriers in North America, with 254 delivery service centers, 32 transfer points and more than 20,000 employees.

The company has provided port workers with an Old Minion Truck Driver Training (ODTDT) program for many years, spokesman Patrick Bad said.

“ODTDT is essentially a dock-to-driver program that has been very successful over the years in training employees to become Class A CDL truck drivers either by pickup and delivery or by linehole route. “Masu,” Bad told Freight Waves.

Of the 12,849 Old Dominion drivers today, 3,598 are ODTDT graduates, accounting for about 28% of the company’s drivers.

There is no time range during which workers must participate in the ODTDT program before going to one of the company’s driving schools. All ODTDT candidates will be paid while the program is in progress, depending on location and service hours to Old Dominion.

In 2021, Old Dominion will graduate 577 employees through the ODTDT program, with a total of 829 graduates by the end of this year.

“This is a very successful program for Old Dominion and has created many great truck drivers for the company,” Budd said. “This program is a bright spot in an environment where it is difficult to find a driver. We have spent a lot of time developing this program to create a pipeline of talented people.”

Click to see more Freight Waves articles by Noi Mahoney.

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The FREIGHTWAVES TOP 500 The For-Hire Carriers list includes: Yellow Corporation (No. 5), XPO Logistics (No.8) and Old minion freight line (No.9).

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