PCC Restarting CDL Program This Month

Photo of PCC's CDL training rig with people in the foreground.

GREENVILLE—Pitt Community College is launching a new round of short-term Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) training this month in response to national demand for more truck drivers.

According to Gail Nichols, director of PCC CIT Continuing Education, the college held an orientation session Jan. 11 to gauge interest in CDL training and had “a really great” response.

“We had about 40 students come and talk with our funding partners as well as three of the carriers we work with,” she said, adding that the first CDL course begins Jan. 24.

Nichols says the first 56 hours of the 176-hour course will be offered online. She said the final three weeks of training will take place at various times to allow for daytime and nighttime driving instruction.

“We will start off offering a class every five weeks,” Nichols said. “Once we get comfortable with placing students, we will probably start classes more often.”

The resumption of CDL training at Pitt comes just three months after the American Trucking Associations (ATA), Inc., issued a report that stated the country’s truck driver shortage was approaching “a historic high of just over 80,000 drivers.” The estimate represents “the difference between the number of drivers currently in the market and the optimal number of drivers, based on freight demand.”

Though the ATA report stated there was “no single cause for the driver shortage,” it noted that the “high average age of current drivers” led to a high number of retirements. The pandemic, lifestyle changes (time away from home, in particular), infrastructure issues, and a lack of female drivers (women represent just 7 percent of the current truck-driving workforce) were also listed as primary factors for the increasing employment gap.

Nichols said local trucking companies have welcomed the return of PCC’s CDL training.

“The carriers are very supportive of our program, due to the huge need for truck drivers,” she said. “Most are offering reimbursement for the tuition, and some are offering sign-on bonuses.”

To be eligible for enrollment in Pitt’s CDL program, prospective students must be at least 18 years old with a valid Social Security card. They must also have an acceptable driving record and possess a current driver’s license.

The cost of Pitt’s CDL training is $3,700. Nichols said there is also a $125-fee that covers a student’s drug screening, physical, and background check.

“Anyone with a good driving record and wants a job can get one, even if funding is an issue,” Nichols said, adding that tuition assistance is available for those who qualify.

An increasing shortage of truck drivers, combined with steady demand for transporting goods means job prospects are good for those who complete PCC’s CDL training.

“We estimate that when a student completes our five-week program, he or she can go to work making approximately $62,000 [annually],” Nichols said.

For more details on PCC’s CDL program, prospective students should contact Nichols at (252) 493-7625 or gnichols@email.pittcc.edu. They may also reach out to PCC’s Alexandra McCoy at (252) 493-7246 or amccoy@email.pittcc.edu.