College Celebrates Successful Launch of CDL Training

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GREENVILLE—Pitt Community College administrators joined representatives from TransTech at the PCC Greenville Center last month to celebrate the start of a new, short-term Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) training program.

With a PCC-themed 18-wheeler as their backdrop, the individuals responsible for establishing Pitt’s truck driver training cut a PCC-blue ribbon in commemoration of the CDL program’s successful launch. Joining them were instructors from the program and the first group of students to sign up for the four-week, 160-hour course.

“We’ve got five students, and I’m looking so forward to seeing what their personal stories turn out to be,” said Wendy Dunbar, administrative assistant for the PCC Small Business Center. “Because it’s the impact that we make on their personal lives, not just the economic impact that we make in the county and our community, (that matters).”

One of those students, Cameron Hayes, has been interested in a truck-driving career for quite some time, having grown up in a neighborhood in which many truckers lived. Hayes said he enjoys the hands-on nature of PCC’s CDL training and that his instructor is “hands down one of the best” he’s ever seen.

“The fact that they actually teach you how to drive versus having someone trying to explain to you … it’s a big difference, and it’s really helping me, to be honest,” he said.

PCC Coordinator for Entrepreneurial Education Gail Nichols says TransTech is Pitt’s partner on the CDL program. Before teaming with PCC, the truck-driving school had six locations in North Carolina—none in the eastern part of the state.

“TransTech, like PCC, realized the need for truck drivers, and as partners, we are meeting the needs of folks in the east,” Nichols said. “… Carriers are calling and looking for drivers every day, and many are willing to help with the costs of training them in order to get good employees.”

TransTech Director Eric Wright says an information session PCC held in January to gauge community interest in CDL training was truly an eye-opener. “(It) kind of blew me away,” he said. “We had over 150 people here just for that informational meeting. We knew right then and there that we had something really strong.”

Wright says America is currently witnessing a shortage of CDL drivers. He says the shortfall stands at approximately 50,000 today and is growing steadily.

“As the older generation [of drivers] ages out, the employment gap is widening,” he said. “No matter if it’s a mom-and-pop-type trucking outfit that has one or two jobs or a huge carrier, such as U.S. Express, there’s never enough drivers.”

Dunbar says the country’s growing need for truck drivers is what prompted Pitt administrators to consider offering a CDL program and reach out to TransTech. CDL training, she says, meets the PCC Continuing Education Division’s goal of offering students quality education that prepares them for the workforce quickly and without costing them a great deal of money.

“When we met with TransTech back in the fall of 2018, we found out that they have a great [CDL] passing rate, they provide a great educational value for our students, and they just seemed to be the best fit for Pitt Community College and our CDL program,” Dunbar said.

The first round of CDL training, which includes classroom and driving instruction, got underway May 20. For program details and information on future CDL training opportunities, contact Dunbar at (252) 493-7528 or wdunbar@email.pittcc.edu or Nichols at (252) 493-7625 or gnichols@email.pittcc.edu.

06/10/2019