Profile For Jason S.

Jason S.'s Info

  • Location:
    Denver, CO

  • Driving Status:
    Preparing For School

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    7 years, 8 months ago

Jason S.'s Bio

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Posted:  3 months ago

View Topic:

Starting Swift Academy in Phoenix

Just an FYI for applicants who have done gig and/or cash work --

After bussing to Phoenix from Denver and attending the Academy for a week they sent me home. I provided tax records, 1099's, references, etc.

Swift does have a minimum income requirement. What that minimum is I do not know, but if you have not made whatever arbitrary income they *think* you should have made you will be sent home.

I was not rich enough for Swift. Not a joke.

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Starting Swift Academy in Phoenix

Having read all of the forums, it seems that it has been a while (years, in fact!) since anyone has written a training journal for the Swift Academy located in Phoenix. I thought about starting one when I first applied, but like a lot of people -- I wasn't sure I'd even get my foot in the door. Lots of horror stories on the internet, I honestly thought I'd get denied. But I'll start of with a sort of "first things first" format, and give a little about my background and obstacles.

I first thought of doing trucking after spending 10 years teaching English in Asia. No joke, no not hiding prison time, I received my TEFL and decided to spend 1 year overseas in 2003 (prior career was computer programming which was outsourced to India). I honestly loved it, ended up spending a decade and worked in every country in east Asia. After moving back to the good ol' USA in 2013, trucking seemed to be a great opportunity.

It turned out to be a no-go, my license had expired some 7 years prior (why renew when you're living overseas?). I had no verifiable work history for the previous 10 years -- unless the carrier had an employee who spoke Korean, Chinese, Cambodian, Malaysian, Indonesian and Japanese. I also had a fresh assault on my record (misdemeanor - bar fight - long story). So I threw the whole trucking idea down the drain and got a job working offshore oil & gas.

Fast-forward 10 years and it's 2023. The oil & gas career ended during the pandemic, after exhausting unemployment benefits the rigs still weren't hiring so I started doing gig work (assembling furniture for Wayfair, dog-sitting for Rover, side jobs, etc). Those have started to slow down, bills aren't getting paid, so it's time for a change. Trucking came back to mind but would I qualify?

The misdemeanor is well over 10 years old. I've had my license back for more years than any carrier requires. Not a single ticket or DUI in over 20 years. And at the ripe age of 49, my back's not going to let me do offshore work. The one thing I couldn't do 10 years ago looks like one of a very few options I have left today. So a few weeks ago I hit the library's computers and started shopping around. Swift seemed like a good fit.

The application was definitely shorter than the one I filled out for Prime over a decade ago. I was honest about everything. Any DUI's in the last 5 years? No. Has your license EVER been suspended? Yes. Why? DUI in 2003. Ever been convicted of a crime? Yes, misdemeanor assault (bar fight). For work history I was equally honest -- on unemployment during the pandemic and started assembling furniture for Wayfair in 2001. Yes, I have worked for a couple other gig services. No, I did not list them -- Wayfair is the one place I've continuously worked since 2001. I submitted my application and got a call from a recruiter that evening.

We went over everything and the recruiter suggested I get the "CDL Prep" app on my phone to start practicing for the permit. I'm currently in Denver, but the address listed on my AZ driver's license says Holbrook, AZ -- which was far enough to qualify for a bus ticket to Phoenix if I passed the DOT physical and could get my record passed Security.

I honestly expected someone to say something about a license suspension and/or DUI from 2003 but nothing was said. When Security called (exactly 4 days after submitting my application), they just wanted to know what happened. I explained it was a bachelor party gone awry, I don't remember much, we all got arrested and well all got sentenced to a 4-hour anger management class and credit for time served (had to spend the night in jail). Was I put on probation? No. Were there any weapons? No. Thanks we'll be in touch...

Two hours later the recruiter called with good news and said she'd never seen anyone clear security so fast. So she booked a DOT physical with a partner here in Denver. The appointment was last Wednesday, exactly a week and a half from when I first submitted my application. That made me nervous, previous physicals for offshore oil have revealed my blood pressure is very close to being high. It is safe to say, I have read every single thread in this forum and others to find a way to get my BP under 140/90.

To save the next guy from the worries and panic I went through (in the voice of Yosemite Sam) -- become a beet-juice drinkin', salad-eatin', no-salt dashin', controlled-breathing kinda varmit! My BP was around 150/99 three days before the physical. So for 72 hours I went in to "rabbit" mode. Very little meat, a lot of salads and greens, no caffiene, lots of water, beet juice etc. Practiced relaxing and breathing techniques. Day of physical -- a bowl of cantaloupe and two bananas for breakfast. Beet juice 2 hours before exam. One more banana and a great big glass of water 1 hour before the exam. Urinate immediately before the exam. Breathing techniques while waiting in the lobby. Walk slowly and relaxed wherever they tell you to go, almost as if you're sleep walking. Don't talk while they take your blood pressure...

138/88. Whew!

The DOT physical happened on Wednesday, so I had to wait through the weekend. Figured I wouldn't hear anything until the end of the week, but got a call on Tuesday. Swift purchased a bus ticket for this Saturday, I start school next Monday, exactly 3 weeks after I applied. A *little* nervous about work history and proof of domicile, more later when I cross those bridges!

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Ex Pat returning home

I hate to say it, and I speak from experience, but that answer is a solid no.

I taught English in Asia for over a decade. Of course, I let my license expire. Why would I need it over there?

Came back 10 years later and thought trucking would be a great opportunity (which it is). I posted the exact same question, called around, and got the same answer. I'm not saying to give up, but you're gonna need some time.

Get your license back now, even if you're not driving. You're going to want to have it for at least a few years with at least *a few years verifiable US employment* and after that, you should be able to get on with a mega carrier.

I just did my DOT physical with Swift, hoping to hear from them soon so I can start their academy on the 19th. Just give it some time and don't give up.

Posted:  3 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

History of Multiple DUIs and Getting CDL Job

I would keep my eyes open.

Somewhere on the internet there's a list of companies and their DUI policies. Some will say "no dui's within the last 10 years, no more than two in a lifetime". Others might say "no dui's within the last 5 years" and have no mention of a lifetime limit.

Someone else had replied that paying for your own school would be a bad idea. I fully agree. There would be nothing worse than finishing school, owing money, but not being able to do the job you trained for.

I also read on a completely different thread -- no matter what, tell the truth and ONLY the truth they're asking for. Don't lie, but don't give them any discriminating information they haven't asked for. If they ask you if you have ever had your license suspended or revoked, be honest and tell them. If they're only asking if you've had a DUI in the last 5 years, you can honestly say no.

Don't hide anything, but don't volunteer anything they haven't explicitly asked for either.

Posted:  3 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Misdemeanor and Swift Academy

Hello,

I've applied for Swift, and was up front about a misdemeanor I plead guilty to in 2011. It's an aggravated assault charge (I was involved in a bar fight). Other than that, my MVR is spotless. No other crimes, and no DUIs inside 20 years. I was even up front about that as well, the recruiter didn't seem to care. But she did say they'd be calling about the misdemeanor in a few days before we could proceed.

Do I stand a chance with Swift? Has anybody been in a similar situation?

Posted:  4 years, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Trying to get into Trucking...

It's China. I could get a letter, but sadly it would be in Mandarin and there's no such thing as a notaries in China.

LOL but I do have a ton of pictures!

Posted:  4 years, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Trying to get into Trucking...

Hey thanks for the input.

I've tried PAM and a couple others. The sticker for me is the 5 years of verifiable employment. Working in China does not create a W-2. Nor does self-employment. But I'm thinking they have these requirements because they're paying for trucking school, and want to know they're not going to lose money on someone who'll quit right away. In any case, I can't provide 5 years of W-2's. So company sponsored schools do not seem to be an option.

As I don't have the money for school, and cannot borrow, I am considering self-studying for my permit. They only loss for me would be a little time. Minus the application and medical exam costs.

As far as I know, an owner-op can insure anyone he or she wants. It may cost more money for the policy, but if insurers never insured people with learning permits and no experience - nobody (yourself included) would ever be able to get a CDL. So I'm not too worried about that.

I think (for now) I'll go ahead and stick with Plan A. If someone out there knows an option I haven't seen, hopefully they'll post!

Posted:  4 years, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Trying to get into Trucking...

I'm hoping to get some help / advice. Seems no matter what route I choose to get into trucking, I hit a road block. Trucking seems to be the ideal career path for me at 45, and it's something I really want to do. But, I keep running into these hitches:

In my twenties I racked up a total of 3 DUI's. Had one at 21 years of age, then 8 years later went through a divorce and got 2 back-to-back. Pulled over, jailed, bailed myself out, got my car back and proceeded to go back to the same bar only to get pulled over by the same cop 2 days later and back to jail. Color me stupid, I was young and dumb. It's been 15 years since (I rarely go to a bar now - like once a year), but this rules out a few companies, especially since I need training.

After that nonsense, I went to China and taught English. I've been back in the States for almost 3 years now, mostly working odd jobs (electrical and offshore). This kills me because the companies that will still talk to me want 5 years of verifiable employment. I understand why (they're fronting the cost of school and want to know they're going to get a return). But spending a decade overseas doesn't seem to count as dedication. It seems company-sponsored schooling is out.

During my fun-but-stupid twenties I used the Pel grant and student loans for computer school. Those skills are now obsolete and I still owe money on the student loans, so FAFSA is not an option.

I looked into the WIA program here in Houston, but they want a layoff notice and/or proof of unemployment benefits. I'd still be doing electrical but my pickup blew up. Laying myself off (when I didn't have a real company) won't qualify.

Other than robbing a bank (not going to happen), I can't see a way to finance trucking school. I'm hoping somebody here might know of something I missed.

Right now I'm wondering if I should just self-study for the learner's permit, and maybe find an owner-operator who's willing to hire me on cheap just so I can get my hours in for my CDL.

Any thoughts?

Posted:  7 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

Getting a WIOA Grant to Pay for CDL Schooling (Arizona- Maricopa County)

I live near Show Low, AZ. Although the WIOA grant is the same (it's a State of Arizona grant, derived of Federal funds), the process up here is a little different.

When I went to Arizona Workforce in Show Low, I was handed the application with an attached paper detailing the documents that were needed. The Orientation Meeting is only given once per month (August 31st in this case). They said it would take about an hour, but we were finished in 30 minutes. We did introductions (two others are going for their CDL), watched a short video, and that was it (no personality test here). I turned in my completed application, not everyone had one. We were told to write down the 6 steps needed (as follows):

**************************************************************************************

1. Attend Orientation

2. Register an account at www.azjobsconnection.com

3. Attend Career Readiness Class (at Northern Pioneer College, 3 weeks from today)

4. Contact Workforce Specialist (same woman that gave the Orientation) to schedule an appointment

5. Work with the Workforce Specialist (whatever that means)

6. Process can take up to six weeks

**************************************************************************************

So far I've completed steps 1 and 2. I've tried to contact the Workforce Specialist to try and get an early appointment, but as it's government I'm betting she'll make me wait until after the Career Readiness Class (which is also once per month, the next one being 3 weeks from today).

I'll make another post in a few weeks, after the Career Readiness Class is finished. Always good to have reliable information out there, hope between Justin's post and mine somebody can benefit.

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