Dot Transportation in Mt. Sterling is doing what it can to combat the shortage of truck drivers. Dot Transportation recently launched their own in-house truck driver training school where students can earn their Class A Commercial Driver’s License while getting paid.
Tim Eckhardt, Director of Safety for Dot Transportation says that Dot isn’t a for-hire school so they have to follow new federal regulations for CDLs that were released in February during the training: “We are hiring for a Class A CDL. We are also training people for HAZMAT and tanker endorsements, as well within the first 4 weeks of the training. It’s a four-week program to get your CDL that’s a skills course, over-the-road driving, and then, classroom hours. Then, on Week Four, is when they are testing out to get their Class A CDL.”
Eckhardt says that the five in-house instructors at the five locations for the program have years of experience of over the road trucking and also meet all federal regulations to be an instructor. Eckhardt says that Dot Transportation has struggled, like many in the trucking industry to fill driver positions, so they began piloting the program last year in Williamsport, Maryland: “We struggle to hire. We piloted this program out there and were very successful. I think through about 9 months last year, we ran close to 22-23 students through the program. Last fall, we made the decision to start rolling this out fleet-wide. As of now, we’ve got 5 locations. We are in Maryland, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Mt. Sterling and we’ve got some other locations that we are working through the process of getting set up.”
Eckhardt says that the program has created a pipeline of current employees or people wanting to work for Dot to get right into the driver’s seat making $750 a week while taking the class: “There’s no cost to the program. Basically, we ask people to sign a 2-year commitment of employment. Starting pay is $750 a week. It’s an average of a 12-week program. The first 4 weeks obviously are going through the program getting your Class A CDL. After you get the Class A CDL, then you move on to the traditional 8-week training program, which is 2 weeks in classrooms and another 6 and possibly more weeks on the road. All of that is paid at $750 a week, and then once someone is released once their certified to go out on their own. Then, that’s an activity-based pay. I believe the average driver made around $96,000 last year. There’s a lot of upward mobility and a lot of opportunity to create a very good paying job and income.”
He says that Dot Transportation is currently attempting to fill at least 150 new driver positions by the end of the year. More information can be found by visiting this website.