Getting our CDL’s

After the joking was done and we got serious about investigating the trucking industry, we really liked what we had found.  It looked like we could make a very good living (if you don’t calculate it by the hour) 🙂

We live in Northern Colorado. I worked selling data to the mortgage backed securities trading desks on wall street, that career ended in late 2007, and my wife was an accounts payable/receivable clerk in the movie industry. she was on unemployment but I took a job that was 100% commission that did not work out so I lost mine. We did a lot of research and found out about Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds for retraining.  It is administered through the unemployment office and you do not have to be on unemployment to qualify.  We had heard that most people were turned down so we prepared well.

We had a lot of information ready when we went in to the workforce center. They tried over and over again to tell us we did or could not qualify (for many reasons) but we had all of our research ready and we did not take no for an answer. Most CDL schools are 5k to 6k and WIA only pays $3500. We got approved in about three weeks by pushing for appointments and getting all of the paperwork and tests done fast.  After getting approved we studied for, and got our CDL permits and then started school a week later. We first contacted Sage Technical Services for training but it was a 60 mile drive each way for us and gas money was tight. We did get Sage to agree to do the total  class for the $3500 which included the permit and license fee. We then found United States Truck Driving School had reopened their location in Longmont CO which was less than 20 miles from our home and that they were also an approved company with the WIA program. We met with the recruiter and he agreed to match Sage’s offer. We completed the course in three weeks and got our CDL’s.  The CDL testing day was very intense as our whole plan was on the line.  Anne went first and I found out she passed as I was doing the pre-trip inspection test.  Very happy but I felt a tiny bit of pressure to pass now.  After being very smug about my backing abilities I blew up on blind side parallel parking and passed backing with zero points to spare.  Funny now!  I breezed through the drive test though.  We had to wait to go to orientation at USX until we received our hard copy licenses.  We used the time to study for and take the test for our HazMat endorsement.

VERY happy with the school but all six people in our class had tried to get WIA money and we were the only ones who were successful.  It happened pretty quickly and we are very pleased with how it worked out.  We would be happy to answer any questions anyone has if you are thinking of heading down this road..

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6 Responses to Getting our CDL’s

  1. BigRigEbooks says:

    Thanks for sharing this valuable information with us. If people only knew how awesome Trucking can be, you have bumps in the road, but what job doesn’t. As a Trucker, I say if you been thinking about it, do it. Owner Operator is the best route cause you are basically your own boss and it’s amazing driving through this beautiful country of ours! Excellent Blog!!!!

  2. Eric says:

    I am enjoying reading your blog. My wife and I have all but decided to leave the corporate world to pursue a driving career as a couple. Our kids have moved out and we are in the process of selling or renting our home and researching trucking companies. It is scary for us because we both have stable jobs but neither of us like the corporate cubicle world. We plan to eliminate as many expenses as we can and jump in with both feet in the early fall if not before. We both love seeing the country from the car when we travel and have no problem driving for hours through the countryside. We have also looked at buying a tiny house recently because we feel you just don’t need all that space. We had a motor home for a while and loved that mode of travel so I think we are somewhat prepared for the cramped quarters. We are really looking for a major change in our lives because the pursuit of the next promotion at jobs we have no passion for got old years ago. Any advice for a mid 40’s couple just starting out?

  3. Stacey B says:

    My boyfriend and I are living in California, and we were fortunate enough to get WIA funding here for truck school. We graduated a month ago, and I go again tomorrow for my Road test at DMV! We were both out of work, and having trouble finding jobs, so when we ran across one of the “mills” we started to talk about doing this. Well, we decided to do it, because, according to what we keep hearing, we should always have a job! Plus, as I like to say, no matter what, something always needs to be shipped someplace!! Even in a bad economy, things need shipping! So it should be a forever job (or at least til we get too dang old! LOL). Anyway, I enjoyed your blog, and also saw a few posts on the Truckers Report forums, signed up for your blog updates too!

    • Anne Miller Leonard says:

      Wishing you the best of luck. We have a blast and the money isn’t too bad. Keep us posted on how you are doing!!

  4. Clint says:

    Great blog! I too am attempting to gain funding through the WIA and appreciate any insight you may have. I submitted the initial paperwork and am waiting to hear if I qualify. I’m told it will be about a week at which time I will be called in for a meeting and told the other things I must do to in order to be considered for funding. I understand I will need to do market research in the trucking industry (to be sure there is a stable/growing need for drivers) and write some sort of essay. I coerced to lady at the employment office to forward the requirements in advance so I can work on them while waiting to hear if I qualify. Sounds like a hurry up and wait program. I will see her tomorrow to get this information.

    I actually have a CDL but have not driven in over ten years; the trucking companies are requiring me to complete a driving school as my experience is ancient. I am fine with that and look forward to the opportunity to learn more. I appreciate any input you may have regarding the WIA and what I can do to increase my chances for funding.

    • Craig says:

      It is likely they will tell you that you do NOT qualify. I think they tell everyone this as money is limited and they weed out a lot that way. The four people in my CDL class who had applied had been turned down. What you need to be prepared to do is show that your current experience/training will not allow you to find a job and you need to get new training to change careers. Be ready at your appointment to defend you position on this. The other objection you might hear is they have done this for others and the students did not stick with it so the money was wasted. Your past CDL experience should make this an easy sell since you understand what you are getting into. You want to get three or four pre-hire letters right now and have the recruiter send you an email or letter stating you need retraining. We were able to push through the entire process in just over three weeks. Find out the schools that have been approved for WIA training and meet with a couple. it is very competitive so you can work them against each other to get them to accept payment in full with WIA funds. I know Sage Technical Services (they are nationwide) was an approved school here.

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