The City, through its Job Training Albuquerque program, is paying for several recently-hired drivers to go through CNM’s well-respected Commercial Driver’s License training program.
Carlos Garcia always wanted to be a professional driver. He liked the idea of being behind the wheel of a large vehicle because he thought it would be a peaceful way to spend his day. But every time he tried to get his Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), which he would need to drive for a living, he ran into a roadblock.
A framer by profession, he would come home exhausted and not have the energy to study for the theory portion of the CDL test. He was also worried about the cost and about finding time for the hands-on portion of the CDL class.
But then he came across a Facebook ad that said Duke City Redi-Mix, a local ready mix concrete and aggregate supplier, was hiring drivers and paying them while they trained for a free CDL class. Carlos decided to leave his framing job, join Duke City, and immediately start training.
“It was definitely a little intimidating to start this new career, but so far it’s been great,” Carlos says. “The instruction has been really helpful, and it’s also been nice to go through the training with other students because we all end up helping each other.”
Carlos’ opportunity was possible because of a partnership between the City of Albuquerque and CNM Ingenuity. The City is paying for the CDL classes—and making them free for employers— through Job Training Albuquerque (JTA). JTA is a workforce development program available to small businesses headquartered within the Albuquerque city limits that have 500 or fewer employees.
CNMI offers ongoing CDL classes on a flexible schedule to meet the needs of local employers like Duke City.
“We are very excited that JTA can support local companies in this way,” says Shanna Sanchez, the Sr. Program Manager for CNMI. “We’re bringing together our fast-paced and high-quality CDL training, which is such an important and in-demand industry right now, with support from the City to help make this investment in local businesses and the Albuquerque economy.”
Duke City Redi-Mix General Manager Miles Shiver says the company is grateful for the opportunity to participate in the program.
“Duke City is all about providing opportunities for people and their families, and that’s exactly what this program does,” Miles says. “Typically we hire people that already have their CDL, but now we’re able to provide gainful employment to people who are studying for their license, and that license will help them create a solid career path going forward. That’s truly exciting.”
Mario Echerivel, who also saw the Facebook ad and joined Duke City, is studying alongside Carlos and six other Duke City drivers. He’s always liked being behind the wheel and looks forward to turning his passion into a job.
“For me, driving isn’t really a job because it’s so much fun,” he says.
Mario and Carlos have already completed 18 hours of self-paced online work and now are in a four-week, hands-on class. They’re being taught by Mark Padilla, CNM Ingenuity’s CDL Examiner and Instructor, and you can find their group on Mondays and Tuesdays practicing in an 18-wheeler that’s stationed in a dirt lot out by Balloon Fiesta Park.
“We’re very excited about training a new generation of safe, licensed drivers,” Mark says. “These guys are doing great and you can expect to see them on the road soon.”