Helping People Start Their New Career

This past May, California Career School hosted a career resource fair at our Anaheim location. It was filled with several vendors who presented information about their need for more employees. All of the vendors had contacted us in search of someone to hire from our school. There were also other resources available such as financial planning or different funding available. Some of our Twentynine Palms and Oceanside students came to receive information from their areas of interest and joined in the fun. One of them was selected in a raffle and won a USMC jersey.

Donnavin, the Instructor Supervisor, stood at our booth for all of those that came from surrounding cities. People were also able to sit in on presentations from companies and learn about what they offer. Some of our current students were offered jobs on the spot, while other people were told if they attended our program that they would be qualified to work at their company.

CCS is always trying to help the community and show people that there are many opportunities out there, and with just a little bit of training, you too, can start your career.


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Albert Follows in his Fathers Footsteps

Albert Sais graduated with his commercial truck driver’s license, proudly sharing with us, “My father was a truck driver.”

The skills yard training was tough. He said, “The clutch would give me trouble along with the parallel parking, but I just listened to [my instructor] and got it down.”

He said that his current plans are to “possibly start for a company that I got a pre-hire from, if not, apply at some jobs back home and put my CDL skills to work.” At this time, he is working with the placement department to see his options.

We asked him what surprised him the most. Albert answered, “The knowledge the instructor has. I was nervous about taking the course and when I saw [my instructor’s] teaching skills and ability to teach anyone, I knew I could do it. […] You get all endorsements, great teaching, flexible, and a smart choice.”

“I just wanted to have something else on my background and to also show my Dad I can do it.”

Fall down 7, get up 8

 After getting his commercial class A license last week, Steve Fisher sat down and shared with us his difficulties and how they brought him to our doorstep.

“After I lost my job I was a little bit of a wreck. I was trying to think what I should do next and for the better part of 7 years I’ve always thought about getting my Class A license. So I decided to take the first step and look online for schools. CCS was the first one on the list. So I gave them a call and I talked to a gentlemen and he was very nice and gave me a rundown (over the phone) of the school. He told me about a program that went through Coastline Community College and that also had ties to One-Stop Center of Orange County. The program was designed to help people start a new trade and also find a new job. The gentleman told me that the program would help pay for the course. After talking to the gentleman, I went and looked at some other schools, two that were close to me and they were a little cheaper. But one school I would have had to go out to Riverside to train and CCS– they trained here in Anaheim.”

The key thing, he told us was, “I just wanted to be able to start a new, fresh start. I also was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to do or even finish the course. I’m glad that I proved myself wrong.”

“It was more than one light bulb that went off. Each step from the test that I had to study, the pre-trip, 5 point brake inspection, the alley dock, the parallel parking and learning to double clutch,” Steve added. “The difficulties and obstacles I faced were that I have a really bad memory and how did I overcome it? I just wouldn’t let myself quit. I just had to do this. To prove to myself I could do it!”

We asked him what was surprising or unexpected about his experienced. He said, “There was when we went to take the test at the DMV and to see all the different schools that were there and how bad their students were at doing the skills test. I was very lucky that my instructors showed me the right away and safe way to drive and park.”

“The school wouldn’t give up on me,” Steve told us. Right now, he concluded, “I’m looking forward to getting a new job. There are many different schools out there but if you want one of the best then CCS is the best choice.”

Girly Truck Drivers Welcome

“I am very girly,” explained Natalie Jasso-Padilla,  graduate from the CCS commercial truck and bus training program. We asked her, why get into trucking? Her biggest motivation, she told us, was to beat the stereotype of female truckers and that even a ‘girly girl’ like herself would be able to succeed in the profession. When Natalie is not in her truck, she rides a Suzuki GSXR600, already a step beyond what most women are comfortable with. “I was hit on the way to an interview,” she referred to one of her first applications after earning her CCS certificate. An accident occurred with vehicles in front of her that did not see her bike. She picked up road rash despite wearing appropriate gear. “When I got there, I was so embarrassed!” But she got the job– its local and she is able to come home every night.

Natalie trained with her truck driver stepdad for a little bit before coming to California Career School. MyCAA funding and the ability to receive a lot of drive time is what helped her choose CCS. MyCAA is the Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts method of funding for student tuition available to military spouses. Natalie’s husband Oscar was deployed during her attendance at our school and his being in the military opened up this avenue of funding for Natalie. We just helped her get the paperwork arranged.

One of the hardest parts of training was pre-trip and 5 point. She laughed as she explained why she made this hard for herself. “Parts of the truck– I didn’t care to learn it. I hated it! I had a little bit of stubbornness. What Donnavin [CCS instructor] did is take the time to make sure I knew it.”

“Start from the beginning!” Donnavin repeated to her over and over to make sure that everything was reviewed as many times as possible. After regular training hours were done, he showed her additional material like power points and books– whatever was available to help her understand this key section of the course. “I just wanted to drive!” Natalie said, “But I knew I had to learn it.” With the right attitude and the extra push from her instructor, she made it through.

We talked for quite some time. Natalie had tons of stories of what she’d seen on the road from her towering cab, some much better shared after hours! There would be strange people hovering by her truck for miles and police activity of Hollywood proportions, “I’ve seen the SWAT team, like 10 cop cars– it was just like loaded!” She put it this way, “You’re gonna see things that you don’t want to see because you’re constantly on the road.”

“I’ve always wanted to drive a truck… I knew it was going to be hard but you don’t really know until you’re out there.” Numerous times, especially in the realm of parking her trailer, Natalie described the unusual set-ups that drivers have to maneuver through and the inconveniences posed by the circumstances. It is absolutely regular for her to park her truck and be told afterwards that male counterparts could have done it better. “You have to be strong,” she went on, “especially when you’re a girl ’cause the guys are mean.”

Since the beginning, Natalie wanted to break the expectations of what women can do and of what others think of female truckers. “It’s not easy, but what helps me is I get to be a role model. [On the road] I like being next to school buses because the little girls see me– they’re smiling and waving. Kids in cars say, ‘Mom, look!'”

Helping His Family From Afar

Jacob came back to our headquarters last week to share that he is about to buy his own truck and has secured a job for Fedex doing OTR as an owner operator! After things settle down for a bit, he will be visiting his family in Liberia to see what he can do for them.

Congratulations Jacob!!

Eight years ago, Jacob Benson left his home in Liberia, Africa to pursue his dream of becoming a professional truck driver and find a way to help support the family he had just left behind.

Jacob dedicated the next few years to saving up money so that he could help his family get away from the war in Liberia. He worked diligently. Eventually, Jacob had sent enough money that his family was able to move out of Liberia and start a new life in the safety of Ghana. Once he knew that his loved ones were safe and well provided for, he was able to pursue his dream.

Jacob enrolled in trucking school. He completed his training, received his CDL and applied for a driving position with Swift Transportation. Although his application was approved, when it came time to complete Swift’s driving tests, Jacob found himself struggling. “The experience I got in training wasn’t enough.” Jacob stated, “I had my license but the type of transmission I was used to driving was not up to their standards.” Swift recommended that Jacob reapply after completing some additional training.

Disappointed but determined to succeed, Jacob had a realization. He explained, “I found California Career School a few years ago. A truck class was training in a lot behind my house. I stopped and talked to the instructor, Robert, about my plans to become a truck driver. I wasn’t ready at the time but he told me to contact the school as soon as I was… and that is how I ended up at California Career School.”

At enrollment, Jacob explained his situation. Since he had already obtained his CDL, it was agreed that the classroom time and permit study would be redundant. Jacob was given credit for the first two weeks of the program and joined his classmates once they were ready to head out on the road. “The training offered here was so much better.” Jacob said “At my previous school, I was trained on an 8 speed, 28 foot trailer. Here, we train only on full size trailers with 10 speed manual transmission. My first day training here I said, ‘wow, backing a 48 foot truck is very different than backing a 28 foot truck.’” He continued, “I was also able to drive on the freeways here. I was never given that opportunity at the other school. Robert made sure to let me practice in the real situations that I will face as a professional trucker.”

Jacob met with his placement coordinator early in training to get started on the pre-hire process. He applied for driving positions with Swift Transportation, Werner Enterprises, Gordon Trucking Inc., CRST, Schneider, Covenant Transport, US Xpress and Stevens Transportation. Jacob wanted to choose a company that he would stay with for the duration of his career, so he began researching each of the carriers to find his perfect fit. Jacob explained, “I looked at each company’s policies, how well and how long they train you and I read the testimonies of their drivers. I also looked at what kind of equipment they provided and whether or not they upgraded it on a regular basis.”

Ultimately, all (yes, ALL) of the carriers he applied for responded and offered him a position with their company. Jacob had already decided that he would like to work for Covenant Transportation. He smiled and said, “My first choice was Covenant and I am sticking to it.”

Jacob just completed his training with Covenant and stopped by to visit while he was in town waiting to be assigned a truck. He told me stories from the road and talked about the different kinds of weather conditions he had encountered while driving with his mentor. Jacob has finally achieved his goal! I asked what he planned to do next. Without hesitation, Jacob replied, “Once I have driven for one year, by the grace of God, I am going to buy my own truck and become an owner operator. Then I will come back to visit and show you my truck. I couldn’t have done this without you.”

Before leaving, there was one more update that Jacob wanted to share… he had just received his legal resident status and would finally be able to visit his family in Liberia!!!

What an exciting couple of months it’s been!!! Congratulations Jacob from all of us at California Career School! We are so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to share in your success. Good luck out there! We are looking forward to your next update!!!

“I would recommend California Career School to anybody that wants to be a professional truck driver. I would like to thank the instructors for their efficiency and the administration for being very professional, helpful and kind towards me and everybody that I trained with.”
–Jacob Benson

Student Receives Placement Assistance

An alumnus of our Truck program, Nick Delgado, stopped by our Anaheim campus to share details of his new job with us. After spending almost a year as an over the road driver with Schneider, Nick was ready for a change. He contacted our Placement Coordinator, Marcelle, for assistance in finding different opportunities that may be available with his new experience. After hearing from Nick, and with great timing, a representative from Second Harvest contacted Marcelle looking for a qualified CDL Driver. After Marcelle recommended Nick for the position and helped to facilitate the application process, Nick was given an interview and was hired for the job! The experience that Nick gained over the road made a difference in the opportunities that the Placement Department could expose him to. He now drives local routes picking up donations from various grocery chains as well as delivering food to the community. He is enjoying his new schedule and the ability to spend more time at home, all while working for a great organizational cause.

All graduates of California Career School are provided lifetime placement services and are always encouraged to keep in communication with our Placement Department. Many employers contact us with employment opportunities for qualified drivers and our Placement Department is happy to facilitate in the process; this serves as a win-win for employers who receive referrals at no cost and students who deserve great employment opportunities to serve their future.
California Career School’s Placement Department was happy to participate in Nick’s career change.

Congratulations on the new job and for your continuous success Nick!

May Trucking Field Rep visits CCS

Katie, one of the field reps for May Trucking, came by and talked to our students here at our Anaheim location. Katie travels to Anaheim and Twenty nine Palms and will be adding our Camp Pendleton site to her rotation and actively seeks out our students. She spent many years as a CDL driver prior to her field representative work so she gives the students valuable inside knowledge about the industry and the reality of starting out. She discussed the training program, the pay, and other extra benefits that the company provides. Two of our current students that attended the meeting, enjoyed that May Trucking would allow the trainee to “pick their pay by mile or a $90 a day for 90 days flat rate” option. Our students also stated that what they liked most was, “if a person would have received more money through mileage at the end of the 90 days, then the company would pay the difference”, thus receiving the most money possible.

May Trucking also allows drivers to bring a pet that is under 60 pounds for a $650 fee, and the driver receives $500 of their money back once the pet vacates the vehicle. The other $150 is used to clean the truck after the driver’s journey is over. Many people enjoy being able to have company and a pet is great companion. A driver can also bring a person on for a minimal fee.

The students that went to the recruiter meeting felt as if the training was better than most companies because only the trainee drives and the trainer does not. Most companies will have the trainer and trainee split the drive time, which they felt did not allow the learner to improve to their full potential. This portion only lasts between 2-3 weeks and the trainer will then discuss what the trainee needs more work in, such as: more time driving in traffic, practice backing up, etc.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, In May 2012, the most occupational employment with heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers is in these top 5 states:
Texas: 144,900
California: 122,660
Pennsylvania: 70,980
Florida: 65,410
Ohio: 65,340

BLS also states that, “employment for truck drivers is projected to grow 21% from 2010 to 2020, this is faster than the average for all occupations. As the economy grows, the demand for goods will increase, and more truck drivers will be needed to keep supply chains moving”.

It is never too late to start a new career path and get your CDL, and with great companies always looking to recruit and expand, it has never been easier.

James and Shannon Ozuna send CCS an update

CCS has trained husband and wife teams before. It’s great to train, travel, and make money together. Team drivers make the most money in this industry because you are able to travel longer and farther distances. When you partner with another person, you are continuously looking out for each other because you have a common goal. James and Shannon Ozuna are able to share every day together. They came to CCS with the goal of team driving together and they succeeded!

Their training at CCS helped prepare them for their new career with May Trucking. Shannon wrote that she “was pleasantly surprised with how much I was taught. Other schools did not offer as much training and hands on experience with the driving or truck itself. CCS really helped prepare me for what I would be facing in the industry. A much higher pass rate than other schools.”

Now, when a car goes speeding by too fast, they will have someone to respond when they ask, “Can you believe that guy?” This country is filled with culture and has an amazing view that these two will be able to share together.

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Military Personel uses TA to attend CDL program

California Career School would like to congratulate another US Marine who attended our Truck Driving School in 29 Palms for receiving both his class A with passenger endorsement. Chad was actually covered under his Post 911 with no money out of his pocket.  We have had hundreds of US Marines use their Tuition Assistance program to attend California Career School just this past year with a 96% success rate of receiving a real career after separating out of the military with no previous training or experience. Chad first learned about the school from the instructor himself.

“I had been wanting to get my CDL before leaving the Marine Corp but I did not know where I could learn. After hearing Ward speak I decided to give it a shot”

Chad did not have any previous training before starting the course; he stated that “the challenge was to learn something new that I had never done before (driving a manual). I am a quick learner so I didn’t have any doubt that if I applied myself and put in the hours that I would pass the DMV”

Chad’s big sense of accomplishment was when he finally mastered the Alley Docking. One thing that Chad found most valuable during his training was “every time Ward would correct me, he would tell me a story about how he had also made that mistake before and how it can really happen and affect you”.

“This is a great program and they put a lot on the line to help military guys like us. To make sure we are all taken care of and pass at the DMV” – Chad

Chad is moving back to his home state of Maryland after he gets out of the Marine Corp and is looking to pursue a career in truck driving. Thanks so much Chad! We wish you the best of luck here at CCS!

Interview with Mitchell Ulmer

Congratulations to Mitchell Ulmer! Mitchell was able to recently acquire his CDL at our Twentynine Palms location. He took a moment of his time to share his experience at California Career School with us.  

Why did you choose CCS? Was there an obvious advantage or anything specific that made CCS stand out in some way?

“I selected CCS because of the conduct that I had with Ward (our 29 Palms instructor) on base while in the Marine Corps on several occassions if it had not been for his effort in pursuing service members I would have not been convinced to enroll.”

Were there any challenges you were facing and what did you want your training to help you do?

“The hardest situation I had with this school was simply not finding out about it sooner. Had I found out about it sooner, I would have gotten my CDL sooner.”

Describe a moment that stands out about your training.

“The day when I learned to drive to the trailer where I needed to go thanks to Ward and Bailey.”

What words would you use to describe instructor’s teaching style?

“Perfect for Marines!”

Was there anything during your experience with CCS that was surprising or unexpected?

“The instructor’s willingness to drive success and not [accept] failure.”

What is it that we do as a school that you’ve found to be most valuable?

“Tireless dedication to students…”

What’s your overall opinion of your experience with CCS?

“Best school I have had the priviledge to attend.”

What are your plans now that you have completed your training?

“My plans are to go work for IPS.”

Is there anything that someone who is trying to choose a school should kniow about CCS?

“They have the amazing ability to be flexible with your schedule.”

Again, we would like to congratulate Mitchell on his outstanding acheivement and wish him all the best for the future!