I'd Like To Become A Driver, But Having Trouble Finding What I Need...

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James M.'s Comment
member avatar

If you're currently unemployed, you should be able to qualify to have the cost of your CDL training covered under the Workplace Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Speak with the office that's handling your unemployment benefits. Plenty of drivers have done this.

Hi James. Thanks for the info, but I had tried to go through WIOA. I went to NCWorks to speak with someone there about the program. They pretty much talked me out of going through the program because of time restraints. They said that they use to send people to 4 different places to get training for a CDL-A license, but 2 have not renewed the agreement between themselves and WIOA , so there's only 2 places that WIOA go through. One of the 2 has a program that lasts 10 weeks and my unemployment would run out before I'd be finished with the training and even though I'd be in school getting training they said thar there are no extensions to unemployment. That leaves just one school. That school has a 1 month program and if they got me in immediately, I could collect unemployment the entire time there. Unfortunately, they said that there's 10 people ahead of me that have already been approved, but are waiting for placement. So, that option wouldn't work for me either.

The only option realistically left for me is training through a company. I just have to find a company that has an accelerated course (1 month or less) and will cover all the costs while I'm getting the training. I have to look back on my original comment, but someone had put links for a bunch of companies that offer training. I just have to look there and find someone that checks all the boxes.

Thanks for your comments, though. I really do appreciate it!

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

WIOA:

WIOA - Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (aka WIA)

Formerly known as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the WIOA was established in 1998 to prepare youth, adults and dislocated workers for entry and reentry into the workforce. WIOA training funds are designed to serve laid-off individuals, older youth and adults who are in need of training to enter or reenter the labor market. A lot of truck drivers get funding for their CDL training through WIOA.

James M.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Davy. Thanks for your reply. I never knew there was foster homes for cats. Interesting. I will definitely look into that. Chance is my little buddy and really all I have left in this cruel world.

I'll see how much Knight pays while I'm in training. If it's enough to cover lodging while I'm training woth them, then that's an option. Just would have to figure out how to get food...yes, I'm literally that poor...ugh!

I think instead of going crazy and trying to figure out if I can cover this or that expense it would be best if I can find a company that covers everything. There's gotta be at least one that does. Someone had replied to my original comment with links to companies that offer training. I'll check all of them out and see if anyone of them check all the boxes and pay for everything. I really don't care how long I'd be under contract for them. I figure the more they offer, it would only make sense that I work for them for a longer period of time.

See if you can find a foster for the cat for a few months. Check social media groups, Google etc.

Many large carriers have a variety of different options for lodging and school and training. Knight doesn't offer housing but they do pay you while your in school, you're actually an employee with them before you start school. It's not much per week, but it's enough. They also have one of the shortest training periods at 2 weeks if you qualify and do their top gun program for 1 week. Te total time sans cat would be 6 weeks minimum. (3 for school, 1 for top gun, 2 for otr training) you're then solo and could bring your cat, although you'll need to get approval.

Most programs provide lodging. Many combine training with school. The school portion is where you get your CDL , the training is usually otr with a trainer, living and working on the truck. Some are short, some are long periods.

You may still be able to recieve funenjoyment payments at a reduced rate while you are working a new job if the job isn't paying you enough. Check with your state regs. Knowledge is power.

Just some suggestions for thinking outside the box.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Go visit the private schools in your area. Most have arrangements with numerous carriers that are willing to finance your schooling with the only expense being your permit and license (less than $100 total)

Roadmaster has a location in Dunn. Unless things have changed they're owned by Werner and can finance your training. They also allow a cat om the truck when you're solo. You will need to make arrangements for your cat because after school you'll go out with a trainer for a minimum of 2 weeks OTR.

Doing a search on indeed for your location for "dock to driver" or "driver apprentice " may yield positive results as well. Although a physical job and not typically recommended, Pepsi, Coke and food service companies are usually hiring people off the street to get their CDL and those would be home daily eliminating the issue of caring for your cat.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
James M.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Rob. Thanks for your comment. I had looked into Werner and I knew they partnered up with Roadmaster in Dunn, NC and considering they are close to me and I could get training in their school and be home every night, the after school training where I'd have to go out with a trainer for 2 weeks of so is the problem. I literally have no family or friends that could check up on my cat and dropping him off at a pet boarding service for 2 or so weeks would cost me an arm and a leg and I just don't have the money to do that.

The only thing I can think of is to ask if they would allow me to bring him during that training phase, but I'm pretty sure I know what their answer would be.

One way or another, I'm going to keep looking around for a solution. I'll look into Pepsi, Coke and if there's anyone else near me.

Thanks again!

Go visit the private schools in your area. Most have arrangements with numerous carriers that are willing to finance your schooling with the only expense being your permit and license (less than $100 total)

Roadmaster has a location in Dunn. Unless things have changed they're owned by Werner and can finance your training. They also allow a cat om the truck when you're solo. You will need to make arrangements for your cat because after school you'll go out with a trainer for a minimum of 2 weeks OTR.

Doing a search on indeed for your location for "dock to driver" or "driver apprentice " may yield positive results as well. Although a physical job and not typically recommended, Pepsi, Coke and food service companies are usually hiring people off the street to get their CDL and those would be home daily eliminating the issue of caring for your cat.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
BK's Comment
member avatar

James, this cat of yours is taking over your life and seems so important to you that you are letting the cat determine what you do in life. Look, I understand how attached we can get to a pet, but you need to think outside the litter box here.

If you ever get into driving, you will quickly discover that drivers need to develop resourcefulness in a hurry. So start practicing resourcefulness in relation to your cat. Find a way to get it into a temporary home so the cat is not complicating your goal of being a driver. Start asking neighbors or anybody else you can think of to take care of your cat while you go through the process. Put an ad on Craigslist or Facebook and find a solution. The solution is not asking a school or company to alter their policy to accommodate your cat. And few (or none) trainers will let you bring a cat into their truck. I certainly wouldn’t.

Long story short, make the cat a non-issue and get on with a plan to improve your life.

Good luck, you can do this but be resourceful.

James M.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi BK. I know what you're saying and you are right. I probably should have explained a little more than to simply say I have no friends or family. I had a dog as well; Rusty. I had him for over 15 years and I had recently had to put him down because of cancer. That was just last week; 2/22. I'm still depressed about it and I'm sure I will be for a while. My cat; Chance; knows I'm in pain and definitely tries his best to cheer me up. I know all this must sound stupid.

I have asked everyone around me if they could watch him. Anywhere I've looked as far as getting him a temp home is some type of money situation that I honestly don't have. No one is going to do it for free or for a very small amount of money. So, there's realistically only one choice left. I'll just find him a good home. I really don't want to do that, but you are right. I need to get serious and concentrate on what I need to do.

I've been taking the High Road study course for the CDL-A permit and I'm about half way through it and currently have a perfect score. I've also filled out an application for Prime Inc. I'm just waiting for them to get back with me.

As hard as it was to read your comment, you are right and I appreciate it.

James, this cat of yours is taking over your life and seems so important to you that you are letting the cat determine what you do in life. Look, I understand how attached we can get to a pet, but you need to think outside the litter box here.

If you ever get into driving, you will quickly discover that drivers need to develop resourcefulness in a hurry. So start practicing resourcefulness in relation to your cat. Find a way to get it into a temporary home so the cat is not complicating your goal of being a driver. Start asking neighbors or anybody else you can think of to take care of your cat while you go through the process. Put an ad on Craigslist or Facebook and find a solution. The solution is not asking a school or company to alter their policy to accommodate your cat. And few (or none) trainers will let you bring a cat into their truck. I certainly wouldn’t.

Long story short, make the cat a non-issue and get on with a plan to improve your life.

Good luck, you can do this but be resourceful.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar
I have asked everyone around me if they could watch him. Anywhere I've looked as far as getting him a temp home is some type of money situation that I honestly don't have.

If you haven't already, reach out to animal shelters and see if they have options available. Several shelters in my area utilize volunteers to have them at their home to keep them out of the shelter until they're adopted. Perhaps that's an option as well as pet rescues.

If you're relatively healthy go donate plasma. Many places, like Biolife, you can earn $800+ your first month if you do 2 donations per week. I'm not sure about your area but to board a cat around here it's $15/day.

Is it possible to tap into your 401k to get by? Sell some of your possessions?

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar
I've also filled out an application for Prime Inc. I'm just waiting for them to get back with me.

I'm not sure if you're aware but Prime has perhaps the longest training period. They will send you on the road for 3-4 weeks with your permit, then after you take your cdl exam you'll team for 40 or 50,000 miles which I believe takes 3 months, someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

They're an excellent option as are many others, I just want you to be aware of that as you contemplate your options regarding your cat.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
James M.'s Comment
member avatar

Well, I got the details from Prime Inc. and I don't think I'm going to be able to go through them. I liked the fact that they pay for 3 meals a day and lodging for the period of orientation, but then I would be set up with a trainer and then they only pay $200 a week for the 2 to 4 weeks of training. I've got my rent, bills and food to pay for during the training. That's simply not going to cut it.

Back to the drawing board. I need to find a company that offers at least twice that much during the training. I'll keep going through the lists here. There's gotta be someone...somewhere. I don't care if I have to sign a 2 to 3 year contract. I just need them to cover everything and pay enough for me to keep my apartment and keep the lights on.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

NaeNaeInNC's Comment
member avatar

The 2-4 weeks of training is solely dependant on you. Prime let's people attempt to test on day 15 (pending on PSD instructor approval.)

This is $200 per week, and is a LOAN. Once you pass the exam, you are then employed (unless there is something really hinkey in your situation.)this is day one of TNT training, which is however much the current guaranteed pay rate is.

As much as I love my job, and like my company, I don't think Prime is the fast way to get you there.

Well, I got the details from Prime Inc. and I don't think I'm going to be able to go through them. I liked the fact that they pay for 3 meals a day and lodging for the period of orientation, but then I would be set up with a trainer and then they only pay $200 a week for the 2 to 4 weeks of training. I've got my rent, bills and food to pay for during the training. That's simply not going to cut it.

Back to the drawing board. I need to find a company that offers at least twice that much during the training. I'll keep going through the lists here. There's gotta be someone...somewhere. I don't care if I have to sign a 2 to 3 year contract. I just need them to cover everything and pay enough for me to keep my apartment and keep the lights on.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

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