There are many in construction who will tell you the biggest constraint they face today is workforce. Skilled employees are at a premium in Georgia, particularly the Atlanta market, as the industry continues to recover from the recession. This is especially true for those who rely on commercial drivers such as the ready mixed concrete industry. In order to combat this problem, the Georgia Ready Mixed Concrete Association has partnered with CEFGA, Westside Works (WW) and Daly’s Truck Driving School to develop a Class B CDL training program.
Richard Griffin is a graduate of the 1st class. Griffin first heard of WW through a church friend. He already had a background in residential construction but was looking to move forward in his career. Griffin went through the program’s initial screening process and started the general construction course. After about two weeks of classes, WW announced the CDL Ready Program. This news was music to Griffin’s ears, as he said, “I love driving. That’s what I do.”
Griffin felt that WW did a fantastic job at instilling job site confidence and helping with any and all problems that occurred, from scheduling conflicts to answering questions. They prepared him for the interview process and ensured that he would be safe and professional in the workplace.
Griffin started as a driver at Argos on December 19, 2015. He is glad to be working there and enjoys the atmosphere and the other drivers. He said that while he is still a rookie, “I get a lot of support from the group anytime I need advice or instructions.”
Daly’s Truck Driving School also played a huge part in Griffin’s success. WW facilitated the program through Daly’s. He came out of the training feeling extremely well-prepared and confident for the written and driving exams. His driver instructor at Argos, Donnie Webb, commented, “When I took him on road tests I was very pleased with his driving ability. If all my drivers came out of this program it would make it a lot easier because they already have the fundamentals down. Daly’s turns out good drivers.”
Argos Employment Center Manager Winette Sharpe is very pleased with WW as well. She believes that candidates coming out of the program are well-prepared for the interview process and possess important on the job skills.
According to Sharpe, the hiring fairs are extremely efficient because a lot of the pre-screening is already done for you. She felt that this allowed her to get to know the candidate better. She stated, “I am not about just putting somebody in a seat. I need somebody who is safe, can come to work on time, and things of that nature. I want to know who this person is.” Sharpe, Webb and Griffin have been back to WW to speak in classes and Sharpe has hired three candidates out of the program.
Sharpe started Griffin out part-time in order to see how he performed on the job and to ensure that he felt comfortable behind the wheel. As of February 1, Griffin was officially a full time employee. “I wanted someone that I could depend on and I definitely have that in Richard,” said Sharpe.
After securing a job through this program, Griffin commented that he felt that WW was a “godsend.” Sharpe and Webb also encourage the industry to utilize this program in order to combat the industry-wide problem of driver shortage. “This program really gives people a second chance. I always want to help somebody help themselves. People stay when they know people care, and retention is important,” said Sharpe.
Westside Works is a long-term neighborhood program focused on creating employment opportunities and job training for residents of Atlanta’s Westside community. The program’s main goal is to provide access to the necessary services that foster job success. They offer a variety of programs through various partnerships. Recruitment, intake, on-boarding and career counseling at Westside Works is provided by Integrity CDC. Construction Ready is provided by CEFGA.
The Georgia Ready Mixed Concrete Association is the sole association in Georgia dedicated to the well-being of Georgia ready mix producers.
Daly’s Truck Driving School offers a 17-Day course for Georgia Class A Commercial Driver’s License, and a 7-day course for a Georgia Class B CDL.
From Left to Right: Richard Griffin and Donnie Webb.