Surry Graduates Thirteenth Class of Truck Drivers
Surry Community College’s Truck Driver Program held its 13th graduation ceremony on June 9 at The Yadkin Center, Yadkinville. One hundred thirty-one students have now completed the program that is placing graduates right into jobs with recruiters attending the graduations.
Dr. Wayne Matthews, Yadkin Center Director, opened the ceremony by welcoming graduates and their guests, as well as thanking graduates’ family members for their provided support throughout the nine-week program.
Truck Driver Training Program Director Roger Chester spoke on the vast opportunities in the transportation field. The program’s Lead Instructor Jake Rhodes also commended the graduates on their hard work, specifically addressing the hurdles each student had to face in order to achieve their goal of completing the program.
Ten 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: Tina Blake of Yadkinville, Denise Bradford of Pfafftown, Zachary Casstevens of Mount Airy, Richard Cheek of Yadkinville, Chris Hughes of Mount Airy, Anthony Jessup of Mount Airy, Dakota Johnson of Yadkinville, Scotty Nester of Pilot Mountain, Dekle Whealton of Elkin, and Crystal Wright of Mount Airy.
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.
The next orientation session for Surry’s Truck Driver Training program will be July 17 at 10 a.m. at The Yadkin Center, 1001 College Drive, Yadkinville. The orientation is mandatory for students planning to enroll in the class running from Aug. 7 through Oct. 10. This class will meet Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Truck Driver Training Range, 2257 Hoots Rd., Yadkinville.