The Training and Development team supports new CDL-A graduates through Paper Transport’s Accelerate Finishing Program, with recruitment and comprehensive safety and skills training.
“As long as you’re green, you’re growing. As soon as you’re ripe, you start to rot.” – Ray Kroc
One may ask why a trucking company would quote Ray Kroc, a milkshake-machine salesman turned restaurant franchise mogul. The answer is innovation. Ray Kroc understood the only way to stand out is to change, not only change with his industry, but with the change ahead of it. Streamline processes and maximize efficiency. It is changing that keeps you green and keeps you growing. Being ripe is synonymous with complacency, which in this industry can become dangerous.
Innovation – that is what Ray Kroc and Paper Transport have in common, and staying green is exactly how we plan on building a best-in-class professional driver training program.
Early in 2022, my counterpart Ross and I stepped into leadership roles with Accelerate, the new CDL-A Grad Finishing Program. We knew that we had a strong program and an even stronger brand to back it up, but we also recognized that we could be better. Albeit we didn’t necessarily know what “better” looked like early on, we shared a common desire to figure it out. We relied heavily on feedback from our students to help us start building a roadmap for the future of the program.
Our curriculum is made up of three main components: classroom instruction, yard training, and road training. All 3 take place with a certified driver trainer. The feedback we received was loud and clear, our students wanted more behind-the-wheel time during their first week. They felt practical application yielded higher results than learning concepts and theories from a classroom. Ross and I not only agreed, but also felt that a lot of our classroom material at the time was redundant. We quickly started evaluating our classroom material and went to work revamping the curriculum. Our goal was “trimming the fat” to increase our behind-the-wheel time by 50% in the first week of training. We realized this was an opportunity to customize our curriculum in a way that aligned with both Paper Transport culture, and our specific fleet characteristics.
Ross took lead on customizing our classroom workload, while I focused on another area of feedback we received. Our students wanted to complete their road training in a market near their homes and on fleets that mirror the work they will be doing once they graduate from training. This meant that we needed to increase our driver training team exponentially, targeting potential trainers on specific fleets in geographies where we had previously been lacking. I partnered with both my safety and operations counterparts, seeking recommendations for drivers that would make outstanding driver trainers. While I recognize that we are increasing the number of driver trainers. It’s equally important to ensure our current trainers had ongoing training and resources available to help them remain successful in their roles.
Our biggest win came through curriculum restructuring. We met our goal of increasing “behind the wheel” time by 50% in the student’s first week of training, better equipping new drivers with both the skillset and confidence to start hauling freight during their second and third weeks of training. We’ve also been able to successfully expand our driver training team. This has allowed more options to create training plans conducive to our student’s needs. Lastly, we’ve implemented new processes to keep our driver trainers sharp, including trainer recertification and monthly meetings that include training techniques and best practices.
The Accelerate team is proud of the work we’ve done and the growth we’ve accomplished. We pause briefly to celebrate our success, as we are determined to stay green.
Zach VanDyke, Accelerate Business Development Manager, started with Paper Transport in 2016 as a Driver Recruiter. Zach aspires to continue to help with CDL-A grads’ career development and is committed to doing whatever he can to help them realize their vision of success!
Are you looking to jumpstart your driving career? Learn more about our CDL-A Finishing Program prepares here.