gkicinski's blog

Training School Owner Debby Mobley on Changes She's Seen in Student Applicants Over the Years

Debby Mobley, owner of Truck America Training, is nothing if not honest, whether she’s railing at government bureaucracy or the lack of motivation of today’s students compared to those back when she opened for business in 2003.

Mobley finds that to be true even though her students are significantly older (38-42 on average) than the 20-somethings of years past.

“Sometimes the older you are, it’s harder to break those habits,” Mobley said. “Young people are more adaptable so it’s harder to train older people and their failure rates are higher.”

CDL or BUST STUDENTS: WHO ARE THEY?

The class of students that Transport Topics is following includes six men and one woman who range in age from 25 to 50. Two are married, four are single, and one’s widowed. Among them they have nine children.

One has driven a school bus, another a dump truck. Those two have their Class B commercial driving licenses but need to upgrade to Class A to drive an 80,000-pound tractor trailer. Along with the five who have standard licenses, they enrolled for the prospect of better pay in an industry with a prolonged and pronounced driver shortage.

Day 2: Aug. 23, 2016

On Day 2 of the 16-day CDL course, instructor Ann Wooldridge says the class will be focusing on air brakes, clutch and combination vehicles in the morning. In the afternoon, students will face tests on the air brakes and combination vehicle. 

Ann Wooldridge is passionate about horses. And horsepower.

Day 1: Aug. 22, 2016

The doors open early at Truck America Training in Shepherdsville, Kentucky: 6:30 a.m., a half-hour or so before sunrise. For the students who are here hoping to complete a 16-day course and earn a commercial driver's license, those doors could be opening up a new career path. 

CDL or Bust: TT Series Follows Students Training to Become Truck Drivers

In an era of a persistent driver shortage, Transport Topics has decided to take a look at a small slice of the segment of men and women who will be driving America’s trucks in the years to come by following a driver training school class.

Starting today (Aug. 22) via our daily online series, CDL or Bust (CDLorBust.com), you’ll get to know the dozen or so members of the class who have paid more than $4,000 apiece as they attempt to navigate the 16-day, 160-hour course at Truck America Training in Shepherdsville, Kentucky.

Driver Training Schools Having Mixed Success

To address the truck driver shortage, Celadon Group forged a relationship with an Indiana driving school in 2012, hoping it would yield hundreds of new drivers. Instead, the program didn’t produce even 10.

That failure prompted Celadon to start its own driving school near its Indianapolis headquarters in 2013, a project that has expanded to affiliates in Alabama and Texas and has produced 25% of the men and women currently behind the wheel of the carrier’s trucks.