DOBSON — Surry Community College’s Truck Driver Program held its eighth graduation ceremony in December at The Yadkin Center. Seventy-nine students have now completed the program that is placing graduates right into jobs with recruiters attending the graduations.
During the ceremony, instructor Jake Rhodes spoke about the students’ good work ethic while taking the course and the available career opportunities in truck driving. Roger Chester, director of the Truck Driver Training Program, told graduates how his life had been positively impacted by his truck driving career and how he hoped the graduates would have similar experiences. Yadkin Center Director Dr. Wayne Matthews also spoke and stressed the importance of developing safe driving habits and being ambassadors of the program.
Eight students received certificates for completing the nine-week program that is a collaborative effort between SCC and Caldwell Community College. Certificates were awarded to the following graduates: Travis Caudle of Boonville, Ros Deal of Statesville, Joseph Dills and Hollis Huffman of North Wilkesboro, Ronnie Merritt of Winston-Salem, Bradley Parks and Michael Pope of Jonesville, and Jullian Phillips of King.
The Truck Driver Training Program was implemented in March of 2014 to answer the demand for truck drivers.
“There are currently job openings for truck drivers locally and nationally. We developed this program as a direct response to the requests from local truck driving representatives who need skilled applicants to fill job vacancies,” said SCC President Dr. David Shockley.
With a shortage of up to 15,000 truck drivers in North Carolina and as many as 200,000 nationally, CDL-certified drivers will easily be able to find jobs. The U.S. Department of Labor says the profession is expected to keep growing — by 11 percent during 2012-2022.
SCC’s Truck Driver Training Program is a revamp of a truck driving program that SCC used to have through a private company.
“Since we were able to offer this new truck driving program through a partnership with Caldwell Community College, we are able to charge community college tuition instead of the class fees being set by a private vendor,” Shockley said.
Tuition for North Carolina residents is only $1,882 whereas fees through a private vendor could be up to $3,500.
Median pay for truck drivers is $38,200 per year, according to the United States Department of Labor. Drivers with experience can make more than $50,000. Initially, the program will be offered during the day, but evening and weekend classes will be scheduled to meet demand in the future.
The SCC Truck Driver Training Program teaches proper driving procedures, safe driver responsibility, commercial motor vehicle laws and regulations, and the basic principles and practices for operating commercial vehicles. The coursework includes motor vehicle laws and regulations, map reading, vehicle maintenance, safety procedures, daily logs, defensive driving, freight handling, security and fire protection.
Highway driving training exercises and classroom lectures are used to develop the student’s knowledge and skills. Graduates are qualified to take the Commercial Driver’s License Test and are employable by commercial trucking firms. They may also become owner-operators and work as private contract haulers.
Special admission requirements include official driving record; physical examination; reading placement test score of 40 or higher; disclosure form; high school transcript; and drug testing.
For more information about SCC’s Truck Driver Training Program, contact Dr. Wayne Matthews at 336-386-3584 or [email protected]