CDL Training: A driving success

Aaron Thompson, D.O.T. Trainer

MPW will keep on truckin’ as CDL training continues. “The CDL Training program is a way to promote frontline employees from within, rather than hire someone from the street,” said D.O.T. Trainer Aaron Thompson.

Throughout the past decade, nearly 100 employees have completed the CDL training program. “To put it in perspective,” Thompson said, “that’s 100 employees who basically started at a technician level position and walked away with a training opportunity that changed their lives forever.”

Thompson said most of these employees may not have had the means to achieve their goals on their own, or to lay a foundation for a solid career path. This training program provides MPW employees with several career opportunities.

MPW covers the costs associated with the training, but applicants who complete this program are expected to continue their employment with the company for at least one year after passing the CDL Skills Test. Additionally, employees must work for MPW for at least a year before they are eligible for the program.

Thompson said MPW can provide CDL training, but the state exam centers are in control of driver exam times. There may be a month to several months gap between the conclusion of training and when the state offers the CDL skills exam.

Of the nearly 100 employees trained, 75% of them are still employed with MPW or fulfilled their contractual obligation before moving to other positions. Roughly 98% of CDL trainees have never been involved in a vehicle accident since going through training and they have clean CSA records and pass FMCSA roadside inspections without violations.

Roughly 40% of MPW’s active CDL driver pool is composed of employees who went through MPW’s internal CDL training. “MPW’s primary business revolves around mobilizing equipment and having a USDOT number in good standing is instrumental to our operation,” Thompson said.

“MPW strives to promote from within,” Thompson said. “They already have a leading edge.” He said existing employees already know the business, which reduces safety incidents and equipment damage. And, it’s good for morale.

“Promoting from within makes the existing employees feel better about what they do. It’s providing a clear path for our employees,” Thompson said.

“The main focus of the training was the pre-trip and post-trip inspections,” said Supervisor Daniel Woofter, a 2016 CDL program graduate. “At first I thought the pre-trip was just a process required by the job, but by the end of the training I realized it is in fact the most important part of driving any heavy equipment.”

“I never stepped foot in a CDL vehicle until the first day of training with Aaron and I was very nervous,” said 2020 program graduate Account Manager Jesse R. McKeever. “The day I took my test I wasn’t nervous at all and passed with ease my first time.”

Thompson said the two-week training course is offered as needed, depending upon interest and employee workload. “Typically, it’s a no-go in February and March,” he said. “It’s hard to get people in during outage seasons in early spring and late fall, they have to forecast their workloads.”

Thompson said anyone interested in participating in the program should inquire through a supervisor, and not contact the training department directly. Through Thompson’s efforts, in January 2022 the CDL training program was approved and certified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

“The most rewarding part of training for me is the opportunity to learn about our employees, offer guidance, and be there to support them in achieving their goals through servant leadership,” Thompson said. “I can’t emphasize enough that this program is life-changing for our employees.”

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