DOBSON — Surry Community College’s Truck Driver Program held its 10th graduation ceremony in June at The Yadkin Center. Ninety-nine students have now completed the program that is placing graduates right into jobs with recruiters attending the graduations.
During the ceremony, Truck Driver Training Program Director Roger Chester welcomed those in attendance, and followed by speaking on the benefits of a truck driving career — job availability, good salary and benefits. He also stressed the importance of practicing safe driving habits as graduates begin their careers.
Dr. Wayne Matthews, Yadkin Center director, congratulated graduates and spoke on the future of the Truck Driver Training Program at SCC. He highlighted the college’s plans to build a new driving range, recent equipment donations, and the continued support and development of relationships with those in the transporting industry.
Eleven students received certificates for completing the nine-week program that is a collaborative effort between Surry and Caldwell Community College. Certificates were awarded to the following graduates: Terry Brendle of King, Sherri Chatham of Statesville, Jamie Hall of Mount Airy, Christopher Johnson of Traphill, Anthony Jones of Siloam, Douglas Parrish of Dobson, Michael Pressley of King, Randy Smith of North Wilkesboro, Steven Spann of Dobson, Tyler Stevens of Westfield, and Brandon Wingler of Traphill.
The following graduates were recognized for their perfect attendance record throughout the duration of the program: Anthony Jones, Michael Pressley, Steven Spann and Tyler Stevens.
The Truck Driver Training Program was implemented in March 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 driver 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, contact Dr. Wayne Matthews at 336-386-3584 or [email protected]