Driving School: A Solution to the Driver Shortage?
When it comes to the driver shortage, you’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem. It seems everywhere you look these days, you can find someone talking about the driver shortage. Whether it’s in a corporate boardroom or a booth at a truck stop, it remains a topic of conversation. At Celadon, we decided to stop talking and start doing something about it.
In October 2012, the Quality Driver School was opened by our subsidiary, Quality Companies. For more than a year, the school operated within the confines of Celadon’s global headquarters. In January 2014, the school moved to its new Quality Driving School Training Center, just down the street.
Our training center has dorm rooms, a cafeteria, recreation area, business center, classrooms, and a driver training road course. On average, the students spend four to six weeks with us in the classroom and another six weeks on the road in supervised driving.
We have classes starting each week, and the training is free as long as the recruits fulfill a commitment to drive 120,000 miles after completing the training. To date, more than 1,000 students have graduated from the school with their commercial driver’s license. Most graduates then come to work here, at Celadon. Many have joined our team expedited division or our temperature controlled group. Some have become owner-operators.
Since launching the first location, we have opened three more schools—one in Gadsden, AL; another in Laredo, TX; and our first international school in Wroxeter, ON, Canada. We have plans to open three additional locations later this year.
The investments that Celadon is making in these new driving schools demonstrates that, in some small way, we’re trying to make a difference in the driver shortage. Sure, we’re not going to solve the driver shortage, but we are going to help a growing number of folks get a solid start in the trucking industry.