The trend of experiencing too much freight and not enough drivers to haul is expected to continue through 2020.
Companies are also looking to fill their workforce with women, who comprise only 7.89 percent of the driver population in the transportation industry, as reported by the Women in Trucking Association.
As competition increases among fewer drivers, employers are offering sign-on bonuses, improved benefit packages, tuition reimbursement opportunities, and increased pay, among other benefits.
Employers are working to make the job more attractive as they strive to recruit and retain safe and experienced drivers, according to survey data provided by the American Trucking Associations.
Employers are not the only ones responding to the shortage of skilled drivers in a high-demand industry.
“We recognize the demand for dependable, safe drivers and are responding by doing our best to train quality and reliable drivers for successful careers, whether it is within the tristate area or cross-country,” said Terry Beachy of Continuing Education & Workforce Development of Garrett College.
Most recently, Garrett College was able to acquire a newer dump truck with the assistance of a Rural Maryland Prosperity Investment Fund grant, to aid in instruction for the Class B CDL training program.
Since 2004, Garrett College’s Mountaintop Truck Driving program has been instrumental in delivering high quality training and instruction for drivers seeking to obtain a commercial driver’s license. Training for Class A has been offered since the program started, and in 2008, the need for Class B training arose and became available.
A Class B CDL license allows an individual to operate any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 or more pounds, with any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 pounds GVWR.
“We can now offer even better results from our Class B training with the recently purchased tandem dump truck,” stated Dennis Rodeheaver, instructor for the Class B CDL program at GC. “This impressive truck will allow us to meet the needs of both Class B drivers and local Class B companies looking to hire our graduates.”
Individuals acquire the necessary skills to operate professional trucks and vehicles through a curriculum centered on classroom, fundamental range skills and over-the-road instruction. Pre-trip inspection, map reading and an overview of log books are also covered.
Garrett College is able to offer flexibility and one-on-one instruction for the training. The Class B program is only a six-day program, with training dates and times arranged to accommodate the student’s schedule. Training is offered on a continual basis throughout the course of the year.
According to Beachy, students enrolled in Garrett’s programs consistently perform well throughout the training and have an overall competitive advantage when it comes to taking the CDL licensure exams.
“Upon completion of the training, we take students to test for their CDL license exams at their local Department of Motor Vehicles,” Beachy said. “This gives us a significant advantage in knowing what our students can expect and be prepared for.”
In fact, program graduates have an 88 percent first-time licensure pass rate on the CDL exam. Over the years, students from Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia enroll in GC’s CDL programs.
Students also discover there are plenty of job opportunities available throughout the tristate area and surrounding region, once they have completed the program and obtained their license.
Over time, the CDL program has directly supported the workforce of Garrett County. Currently, there are several graduates of the program employed with the Garrett County Department of Public Works and Roads division.
“The reputation of GC’s CDL program is highly regarded,” said Theresa Miller, administrative roads coordinator of Garrett County Public Works–Roads division. “The skills and hands-on knowledge our graduates received through Garrett College’s CDL program contribute greatly to the success of our daily maintenance operations.”
Funding opportunities are also available to potential students, whether it is through the G.I. Bill, SNAP Grant, Garrett County Scholarship Program (occupational scholarship), or the Garrett County and Allegany County Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act programs.
The Workforce Development Sequence Scholarship, offered through the Maryland Higher Education Commission, will also be available in the near future. Designed to provide financial assistance to students enrolling in an approved non-credited certificate program at participating Maryland community colleges, this scholarship provides an annual maximum award of $2,000. GC’s Class B CDL training program is one of the approved programs that fit the scholarship criteria.
Garrett College’s Mountaintop Truck Driving Institute
is located in Grantsville. Prior to enrolling in CDL training, individuals must have a Department of Transportation physical and DOT federal drug screen less than 60 days old. An accompanying Class A or Class B CDL learner’s permit is also required.
For more information on CDL training programs available at Garrett College or to register for the next program, contact Terry Beachy at 301-895-4700 or firstname.lastname@example.org