I decided to pursue a career change by going into the commercial trucking industry. I saw an ad in the local newspaper for Central Refrigerated Service which offer me an opportunity to train for my CDL and would give me a job as a truck driver. It sounded like a great opportunity a one stop chance to get my CDL and get a job.
The Company sent me a ticket to go to Texas (this is where their training facility was located) Upon arriving I realized that there were many trainees and not enough trainers. There were approximately 25 students between two trainers. There was 3 different levels of training amongst the 25 students some were studying for the written test, some were studying for the road test and some students were there to retest for the road test.
Trainers were stretch to the limit of teaching all the students on all these different levels you need to get your CDL class A license. The problem with this is that over 70% of the students were failing and retaking the Motor Vehicle exams over and over which entailed rolling over into the training of the new arrivals. Luckily I did a lot of studying and practicing on my own and with other students and I was able to past my written and road test the first time. All students practiced their road test on a 9 speed tractor pattern as well as take their road test exam.
After passing my exams and receiving my Class A license I was sent back to Conley, Georgia (my home base) for my 3 day orientation. After passing my orientation, I was assigned to a trainer for over the road tractor trailer training for 28 days. My trainer's tractor was W9 Kenworth with a 9 speed pattern. He was a very nice and patient man and taught me everything he knew about over the road trucking. For the entire 28 days I was trained on the 9 speed pattern.
On my 25th day we were in Iowa, I was suppose to head back towards Conley, GA for a my driver's upgrade (which mean I would receive my own tractor) and go solo over the road. But instead of heading back the Company sent me and my trainer back to the west coast region and on my 26th day my trainer was instructed to drop me off in Salt Lake City, Utah for my upgrade. On the 27th day my trainer dropped me off in Utah for the upgrade that would take place the next morning. My trainer gave me an excellent evaluation for my performance in his tractor.
On the 28th day, I started the upgrade by taking test on the computer after passing all my computer test I was ready for the road test on the tractor. My upgrade examiner took me to a tractor for my test to my surprise it was a 10 speed pattern tractor. Out of my 49 days with Central Refrigerated I have never trained nor driven a 10 speed. So I asked my upgrade examiner did they have any 9 speeds that I could take the test on and he said 'No, you should know the 10 speed pattern' and also told me that 'The Company is getting rid of all their 9 speeds and that they were obsolete.' Again, I stressed to him that I have never driven or been in a 10 speed and that I would need a few hours to familiarize myself with this pattern. He told me 'No, take the test' Well it would be no surprise to let you know that I failed this test. By not knowing the new pattern, I grinded the gears.
I went back to the office and they informed me that I had failed my upgrade. When I pleaded with them to give me a chance to practice on the 10 speed pattern. They said 'We don't do that.' This was Friday afternoon and they said I will be retested Monday morning on the same truck. I asked them to let me practice over the weekend on the truck by myself. But they refused and told me that I would have to find a owner operator, if I can and maybe they would show me the 10 speed pattern. I was not allowed to ask a trainer, a student or any employee of Central Refrigerated to help me. Unless it was an owner operator.
By Monday morning I was unable to get anyone to help me with this new pattern. On October 20, 2008 after 49 days with Central Refrigerated, I felt it was a 'No Win' situation and I had no choice but to leave the training facility.
To say the least, I was disappointed with the Company. I believed that with all I had went through with the training in Texas and being able to pass all my test the first time I took them and to get such and excellent review from my over the road trainer that after the 49th day Central was unable to give me 3 hours to practice on the 10 speed pattern.
Being persistent and determine to become truck driver, I decided to go to an independent trucking school to get my Diploma and most of all learn the 10 speed pattern. I paid $2, 560 for this training. Most of the time I sat around because I had already received my Class A license. When it was time for the Driving training I spent 3 hours in a 10 speed and maxed it. My trainer asked me what I was doing here he said you are an excellent driver. I graduated on December 18, 2008 with a 97% average.
Now this is the kicker, I applied for a trucking job and the Company pre-approved me to work for them and then I found out that Central put on my DAC report that I was terminated from training and the Company told me that they couldn't hire me, because I was terminated from training. Which was not true I left them. I never worked for them . I was never upgraded as a company driver.
Now Central wants to charge me $2, 900 for training. Training that never produce me the career that I wanted and wasted 49 days of my life and time with my wife and 5 year old son.