Dot Transportation, Inc., launches in-house driver training school at Mount Sterling headquarters

Dot In-House Driver Training

Pierre Graham of Macomb is one of the first students to go through Dot Foods' Mount Sterling in-house training school. | Photo courtesy of Dot Foods

MOUNT STERLING, Ill. — Dot Transportation, Inc. (DTI), the affiliate trucking company of Dot Foods, North America’s largest food industry redistributor, recently launched its in-house driver training school at the company’s Mount Sterling facility.

In a press release, Duskee Kassing, direction of operations at DTI said, ”We piloted the approach last year at our Maryland facility, and that test exceeded expectations. We knew it was time to launch at our headquarters. Our drivers are so important to our business, and by setting up an in-house training school, we can get new drivers road-ready in 12 weeks versus the 16-to-18 weeks you’re looking at if you enroll in an external training school.” 

DTI’s in-house program allows student drivers to get their Class A commercial driver’s license training at no cost while earning a paycheck. They also have a job with DTI waiting upon graduation. DTI pays those enrolled in the school a weekly salary of $750 during the program, and the training costs nothing out-of-pocket. Kassing describes the tuition for the training as a $1,500 prorated loan from DTI. If the student driver goes on to work for DTI for at least two years after completing the program, they don’t have to pay back any of the loan.  

Pierre Graham of Macomb is one of the first students to go through the Mount Sterling in-house training school. He started working for Dot in 2010 in the frozen warehouse. He has been promoted into roles across all areas of the business several times in the past 12 years and was most recently holding the position of industrial sales representative and managing accounts for 100 customers. 

“I’ve always wanted to be a driver, to travel some and to work with customers face-to face,” said Graham. “Working with our customers by phone as an industrial sales representative has been a wonderful learning experience. Now I will have the opportunity to take that experience and work with customers in-person while on their loading docks. Drivers are the face of the business.” 

Graham recently passed his CDL test and will soon begin his training with a DTI driver on the road. His estimated graduation is May 20. He opted for DTI’s four-on, four-off schedule, which means he’ll be out on the road for four days, then home for the next four. Knowing his schedule for the foreseeable future was a big plus for Graham and his family. 

“I have already learned so much about a truck and look forward to completing the training and starting the next stage of work at Dot,” Graham said. “The different schedules offered is a great benefit. That definitely helped the decision to apply, as my wife and I talked it over — looking at pros and cons to the position. We ultimately decided to go forward with the opportunity.” 

Student drivers enrolled in the DTI program will have four weeks of classroom and yard training and eight weeks on the road working with the company’s experienced driver trainers. Safety is the primary expectation for all DTI drivers.

DTI drivers recently received the largest single-year pay increase in company history. The raise means most drivers will take home an additional $5,000 in 2022. DTI’s driving careers come with great earnings potential, and the average fleet-wide salary for drivers is now at $96,000. DTI’s pay structure is activity-based, something that sets the company apart from other carriers. DTI drivers are paid for every part of their job, including: mileage, stops, pickups, deliveries, layovers, detentions, drop and hook and more. Drivers are also part of the company’s bonus program and therefore eligible for quarterly and annual bonuses.

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