Paving a New Path

In just six weeks, DaShaun earned his CDL with a workNet DuPage training grant

In the span of his furlough, in under two months, DaShaun earned a CDL class A license and Haz Mat and Tanker endorsements.

DaShaun doesn’t waste time – a helpful quality for his new career in commercial trucking.

Last July, when a fiber optics company furloughed the Lombard resident from his field surveyor job, he immediately signed up for workNet DuPage’s WIOA program. He heard about the program from his grandfather who suggested it might pave the way forward and allow him to earn a certificate.

DaShaun explored in-demand careers in DuPage County. Knowing there is a shortage of skilled commercial drivers, he decided to attend a trucking program to earn a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). 

His hustle paid off. In the span of his furlough, in under two months, DaShaun attended the 160 Driving Academy and earned a class CDL-A license and Haz Mat and Tanker endorsements - permissions allowing him to transport liquids and dangerous materials.  Such perks make him a highly marketable job candidate.

As he ended the program, DaShaun received important news. His employer notified him that he and his crew members would be permanently laid off. He wasn’t upset because he knew he had a new path forward.

With the Class A CDL now in my pocket, i have options...having that CDL is sort of like having a golden ticket,” said DaShaun.

The call of the endless highway

DaShaun is looking forward to the open road. “I like being out in the elements. I love to tune into my own music, travel, and see the surrounding area. Plus, trucking jobs pay well.”

workNet DuPage hosts a weekly From Layoff to Launch webinar to connect laid-off and furloughed workers with no-cost career services. “It’s not just laid off workers that can benefit from workNet DuPage,” says Susi Pihera, co-moderator. “Furloughed workers are welcome and encouraged to join. A potential return date is no guarantee, and if your employer calls you back to work you’ll re-enter the workforce with new credentials.”

Finding job listings on Indeed has been easy for DaShaun who is currently in talks with a company that needs a driver to handle cargo and equipment for regional work.

“With the Class A CDL now in my pocket, I have options. Obtaining the workNet DuPage grant during the pandemic has absolutely made a difference in my employment outlook. Having that CDL is sort of like having a golden ticket,” says DaShaun.

The steady support from his career counselor Katrina Savaglio was a great benefit. “I think she is really great. I guess it’s just a random pick for a career counselor, but I think I’m one of the lucky ones,” DaShaun says. “Katrina’s been able to help me with all my questions, is very communicative, and gets back to me in a timely manner.”

DaShaun only wishes he knew about the program sooner.

This article was featured in workNet DuPage's Year in Review.  Learn more about how workNet DuPage steps up to help local businesses during this historic time. Read the entire report here.