N.C. School to Build Truck Driver Training Area
[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]
High demand for truckers in North Carolina is behind Guilford Technical Community College’s plans to open a $4.35 million driver training facility using grants from the state and the U.S. Commerce Department.
“With the construction of the truck driving training facility on the Greensboro campus, GTCC will be able to double the number of students who enroll in the truck driver training program each year and provide comprehensive day and evening training through 250 hours of training on the new driving range and road,” Anthony Clarke, community college president, told Transport Topics.
Clarke said, “The new truck driver training facility will allow GTCC to institute additional in-demand programs such as Commercial Class B [CDL B] license for dump truck drivers, a CDL Class B passenger program and a refresher program for drivers who have recently gotten out of the trucking industry.”
In June, the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration awarded a $1.74 million grant to the school to help pay to build the truck driver training facility, which will include a driving pad for behind-the-wheel training and classroom facilities. The state is kicking in the remaining $2.61 million using N.C. capital infrastructure funds designated for this project that were allocated in March 2022 to GTCC by the State Board of Community Colleges.
“The project is fully approved and funded. We are starting the project in consent with federal and local agencies that we will work with to ensure that our procurement and construction processes meet the requirements per the federal funding,” Clarke noted. “Due to certain unknown factors, it is hard to provide a very specific date but our expectation is the facility will be available for use by the fall semester of 2025.”
The community college, founded in 1958 as Guilford Industrial Education Center, is in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina. It launched its truck driving school in 2019 to help address local needs for drivers. The state has 47,150 trucking companies, which mostly are small and locally owned, and support a wide range of businesses, according to the North Carolina Trucking Association.
“This year there are 183 students, with one class remaining, and it will have 24 to 28 students enrolled,” Clarke said. “Since the program began in October 2020, 455 students have enrolled with a passing rate of 92%.”
GTCC announced the creation of its truck driving school in July 2019. (Guilford Technical Community College)
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the national employment of heavy- and tractor-trailer truck drivers to grow 4% from 2022 to 2032, with an average of 241,200 job openings every year. May 2022 statistics reveal that North Carolina had 65,240 heavy- and tractor-trailer truck drivers, who are paid an average of about $50,930 per year.
“This program has a consistent waiting list of potential students from Guilford County and across the region. It’s located in east Greensboro, is affordable compared to other truck driving programs and has the potential for salaries above the regional average — all which makes this program highly sought,” Clarke noted.
Gragg Wilson of UPS won grand champion honors at the National Truck Driving Championships. Wilson takes us through the competition's course, successful driving practices and how to attract new drivers. Tune in above or by going to RoadSigns.ttnews.com.
The curriculum provides students with training to inspect and operate tractor-trailers, and drive on the road as well as at pickup and delivery points.
“This is a 320-hour course. Instruction is 22% classroom and 78% on the driving range and/or on the road. Emphasis is placed on vehicle inspection, defensive driving, range maneuvers, motor carrier’s safety regulations, trip planning, cargo handling, size/weight laws, general maintenance procedures, hours of service and vehicle accident prevention,” Clarke said. “GTCC offers an eight-week full-time class and a 16-week part-time weekend class.”
During each training session, company recruiters visit the program. An indication of the need in the state for truck drivers is evidenced by four companies seeking drivers who visited the school during the most recent session.
Financial assistance and several workforce development scholarships are available, including the Metallica Scholars, created by the rock band and its management as a workforce education initiative to give direct financial support to community college career and technical education programs. GTCC is one of 42 schools accepted into the Metallica Scholars program.
In North Carolina, trucks are responsible for transporting 96.6% (236,780 tons per day) of all the manufactured tonnage moved throughout the state, NCTA noted.
Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing below or go here for more info: