Truck driver training crucial to the supply chain, economy

Truck driver training crucial to the supply chain, economy

According to the N.C. Trucking Association, North Carolina needs about 12,000 more truck drivers to keep up with current industry demands. Truck drivers have the potential to make $50,000 or more in their first year of driving. With most goods being transported by truck, truck drivers are crucial to the supply chain and economy.

Over the years, Golden LEAF has partnered with Beaufort County Community College, Cape Fear Community College, College of the Albemarle, Davidson-Davie Community College, James-Sprunt Community College, and Sampson Community College to provide high-demand truck driver training programs.

Golden LEAF has awarded $1.9 million in funding to support these programs that have resulted in 1,783 new truck drivers across the state over the past five years.

At Sampson Community College, Golden LEAF provided two awards totaling $300,000 for equipment and to complete a paved driving range. Over the past five years, 794 students have completed the training.

“Golden LEAF was instrumental in the launch of the critical truck driver training program in 2007 and understands the impact transportation has on supply chains and the regional, state, and national economy,” said Lisa H. Turlington, Dean of Advancement and Executive Director of the Foundation at Sampson Community College. “The Golden LEAF award helped us in securing additional funding for the program from The Cannon Foundation and U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). We anticipate completion of construction for the new site in the Clinton Industrial Park in early 2022.”

Sampson Community College has seen a lot of success stories from its truck driving program. One such success is the story of Elgin Moore.

“Elgin Moore left his job as a forklift driver at a printing company to attend our program,” said Amanda Bradshaw, Dean of Workforce Development and Continuing Education at Sampson Community College. “During this time, his wife worked as an RN to support the family financially. Elgin completed the program in 2018. He worked for two other companies before purchasing his own truck in early 2020. During this time, his wife’s health began to decline. She was unable to work and still is not able to work in her previous career setting. He has been able to support his family financially through her sickness; purchase a home, mortgage free; and has recently purchased his second truck in just the last few weeks.

Moore has also become his own broker as he grows his fleet, said Bradshaw. He mainly hauls for Amazon and another private carrier.

“Elgin could not express enough appreciation for the opportunity to participate in the program and for the support of the instructors as he shared his story,” said Bradshaw. “Elgin’s wife plans to help him with the brokering business as her health improves. They have recently hired their first full-time driver who is also a 2018 graduate of our program. Elgin’s plans are to continue to grow his fleet and sharing his appreciation and story at Sampson Community College. In talking with him personally, I can truly say that his appreciation and joy for the program simply radiated through him as he shared his story.”

Beaufort County Community College also received two awards totaling $351,913 for equipment. Over the past five years, Beaufort County Community College has had 239 students complete its truck driver training program.

Some people need truck driver training to help grow a business.

“I can’t tell you how much the CDL training class has helped my business and my families,” said Jason Biggs, agribusiness owner and truck driver. “We have a tandem dump truck that we use for our business purposes, and we also move our larger equipment with it. Without a CDL this would not be possible. Our business has drastically increased, and we are able to take on much larger projects. In some of the wetter and colder months when we can’t work due to poor ground conditions. Now that I have my CDL, I help my father-in-law on his farm by hauling grain to local buyers. I have people offer jobs all the time for hauling or moving equipment. Definitely one of the best things that I have ever done.”

At Davidson-Davie Community College, Golden LEAF provided $242,290 for new equipment to help meet industry demand for training. Over the past five years, Davidson-Davie Community College has helped 256 people become truck drivers.

Davidson-Davie Community College’s truck driver training program has helped many students find success, including Antoine Howell, a veteran.

“Antoine Howell, a veteran, came to NCWorks Career Center in Lexington as a dislocated worker,” said Jeff Ferguson, Program Director, Truck Driver Training at Davidson Davie Community College. “Although Antoine had driven trucks before in the military and more recently with the VA, he felt that a CDL would benefit his future employability. Along with his enthusiasm and positive attitude, Antoine has had no problem getting through the truck driving program and was offered a job as a truck driver with Tyson Foods. His future plans include getting a degree in Logistics while he is out on the road.”

According to the American Transportation Research Institute, there are approximately 218,540 trucking industry jobs in North Carolina. That accounts for one in 16 jobs in the state. Many of North Carolina’s community colleges offer truck driver training programs at a low cost and over a matter of weeks. This career path provides a quality job that is in high demand. To find a North Carolina community college truck driver training program, visit North Carolina Community College System website.

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