Delores Williams is tough, and she is used to hard work. But getting her Commercial Driver’s License was a different kind of challenge.
She worked in concrete construction for 16 years, but when she was sidelined by an injury, she took advantage of an HCJFS program that paid for her to receive training from Napier Truck Driver Training.
“I always wanted my CDL,” she said.
The HCJFS program allows certain benefit recipients to complete the program and covers the cost of tuition. Williams said the amount of information covered in the classroom, combined with learning how to drive and back up a tractor-trailer, was overwhelming.
“I just went for it. I didn’t think it would be as tough as it was,” she said.
She graduated January 31, but her license test wasn’t until mid-February. Williams felt like she didn’t “get it” when it came to driving the big rig, so she made a plan of attack.
Napier allows students to return any time after graduation to refresh skills.
Williams said it was tough going to school when she wanted to be out earning money, but she came back into the training center every day after she took her son to school and stayed up to 7 hours studying and driving. “I knew sitting at home wasn’t going to make me get it,” she said. But when she was at home, she still studied. “I would put a video on while I was brushing my teeth.
She knew many people took up to three tries to pass the CDL test, but she was determined to “one and done” it.
“I was mad that I got an 84, I wanted a 100,” she said. “As much as I studied, I wanted a 100.”
Delores has been working for two weeks now, making deliveries at night to businesses such as car dealers. She’s on track to earn more than $60,000 this year. Maneuvering between brand new cars is more difficult than she expected.
Then she smiled and said, “I think I’m embracing the difficult now.”
So, what does she do after driving a truck all night? A couple days a week she goes back to Napier, to help others learn.
She said the training process can be frustrating and it takes a good support system to do well.
“I just try to encourage people,” she said.
Williams says helping other students is one way to give back to all those who helped her. She is thankful for HCJFS for providing the tuition for the program; to the instructors for helping her to “get it;” and for her fellow students for encouraging her.