VGCC succeeds by going ‘all-in’ for Truck Driver Training
The new Truck Driver Training class that began at Vance-Granville Community College in early February 2020 is full to capacity, with demand even greater than the college could accommodate. That is due not only to the growing need for qualified commercial truck drivers with a Class A commercial driver’s license (CDL) but also to a highly successful enrollment marketing campaign.
A team of VGCC staff from numerous departments collaborated in creative ways to design, coordinate and implement several strategies, ranging from the traditional — signs placed in the ground around the community, a press release and print advertising — to the more high-tech social media and video advertising.
“This success demonstrates the power of partnership – including not only our own VGCC professionals, but also employers in the community and workforce development partners,” said VGCC President Dr. Rachel Desmarais. “We went ‘all-in.’ Our students and our community will benefit from this new program, along with all the other valuable education and training programs that we continue to provide.”
Students started the process of completing the CDL credential by attending an orientation session on Jan. 23. Lead instructor Roger Chester gave the students information on the requirements of the nine-week program. Meanwhile, to connect the training to careers, seven local employers set up information tables. “They took the time to speak with students about employment prospects in CDL and trucking at their respective locations,” said VGCC Director of Occupational Extension Kyle Burwell.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for qualified commercial truck drivers is expected to grow by 21 percent through 2020, and trucking companies actively seek quality student drivers right out of programs like this one. “The logistics experts estimate a national shortage of over 50,000 drivers,” added Ronald Bennett, Director of Transportation for Variety Wholesalers, Inc., located in VGCC’s service area. “Variety Wholesalers, as well as other area businesses, will certainly benefit from this program.”
Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will have the opportunity to be employed by commercial trucking companies, become an owner-operator, or take advantage of local jobs. This Truck Driver Training program is certified by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). VGCC offers the program in collaboration with Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, a sister institution of the N.C. Community College System.
“Our Truck Driver Training program is an excellent example of how North Carolina community colleges connect students to fulfilling careers and provide a pipeline of qualified talent to employers,” said Jerry Edmonds, VGCC’s vice president of workforce and community engagement. “We’re responding to the region’s economic needs and providing easy access to low-cost, high-quality job training.”
The college plans to offer a second class starting in August.