27 May 2012

AAA In the Times Herald!

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UPPER MERION — Veterans, driving a big rig could be your next gig.  With the industry facing an unprecedented shortage of long- and short-haul truck drivers, AAA School of Trucking was hoping to reach out to a number of veterans at the Hire a Hero Career Fair at Valley Forge Convention Center on Wednesday.  Two hours into the event, sponsored by the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, AAA’s contract specialist Bill Soloby had talked to just a handful of job seekers and remained optimistic about spreading the word in King of Prussia about AAA’s advantages over other trucking schools.
“We have to be a little selective about the job fairs we go to because there are quite a few of them around,” he noted. “This is one of the few fairs for veterans, which I was happy to participate in, but the turnout is not great. As you can imagine, job fairs in Philadelphia are huge.”
Nonetheless, AAA, with branches in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, was happy to be on board with the Hire a Hero event for a few reasons, Soloby said.
“We wanted to do this because we’re being approved for the GI Bill® as we speak. Veterans can now come to us and be trained via the GI Bill®.”
Previously, vocational schools needed to provide six months of schooling to qualify, he allowed.
“That’s changed. Now schools like ours that are four or five weeks can participate. It’s great for everybody, including the veterans. Nobody wants to go to school for six months to get their CDL-A license — it’s too long and too expensive.”  Soloby said that AAA’s fee is “totally competitive,” and often reimbursed by the freight company that does the hiring.
“Good freight companies will often reimburse students for loans because they want the driver to stay with them. So if you’re with a good freight company for two years, you’ve paid the fee,” he pointed out.
Soloby said that a number of students from surrounding counties choose to attend classes at the Philadelphia-based school because the staff is trained as state examiners and receive individualized training as well as job placement.
“We provide training for a CDLA license, which allows you to drive any rig you want, as well as a CDLB license for a straight truck like a UPS truck, waste management and that type of thing,” he explained.
“Schooling is four or five weeks and you get a diploma, which the freight companies love to see. They love to grab the new students because they’re fresh. They’ll get trained again by the freight companies, so they’re very well trained and then we place them, we get jobs for our students.”
Soloby said students are all ages and come from all walks of life. Many are seeking second careers once into retirement.
“We get them from early 20s to 60s … ladies as well as men. There is a very wide variety of people. There’s such a huge need for truck drivers. We have a good website (www.aaaschooloftrucking.com), which is a huge help for us. If you look up truck driving schools in Pennsylvania, we’re going to come up. CareerLink, which has locations in Montgomery County, will sometimes help with tuition, so we get plenty of students from the suburbs.”
If a student encounters difficulties with testing, he or she undergoes a re-training process, Soloby said.
“We’ll bring the student back in and re-train and we’ll continue to re-train until that problem is solved. Some of the schools don’t do that, but we do. With the huge demand for truck drivers today, we do all we can to help a student find success in this field.”
For more information, call 267-324-5957.


The above is an excerpt from the full text.  Read the full article here:

Times Herald:  AAA School Fills Demand For Drivers, Promotes Success

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