Wayne Community College has graduated nine students from its Truck Driver Training program.
The students finished the hands-on program to learn how to drive commercial tractor trailers and trucks.
Earning WCC Workforce Continuing Education certificates of completion were:
- Michael L. Coley, Kurtis M. Cordts, Franklin H. Kohnen and Andrew S. Zamora of Goldsboro
- Martrel C. Bizzell and Guillermo Garcia-Ponce of Dudley
- Daniel W. Hill of Seven Springs
- Eddie S. Hughes of Pikeville
- Jimmy W. Sutton of La Grange.
Cordts and Kohnen were recognized for tying for the top spot in the class with the highest scores in academics, skills test and backing, and the final road test.
All of the graduates have earned their Class A Commercial Driver’s Licenses. They also received “DOT 380 certificates” which is proof of training that is required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for entry-level drivers.
This was the third class to graduate since the college’s Workforce Continuing Education Division began offering the training program in the fall 2019 semester.
The program was established in response to requests from local businesses and industries, “providing qualified truck drivers to our employers who rely on transportation to distribute their goods and services,” said Renita Allen Dawson, associate vice president for continuing education services.
The program requirements are set forth in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to prepare students to obtain entry-level positions in the transportation industry.
Five of the nine graduates have already started working as truck drivers.
“Your persistence has shown that you all have what it takes and you did it during a global pandemic,” said Dawson told the graduates.
The program started in August and lasted 16 weeks.
“We’re a major industry in this country and now you are going to become part of that. I’m excited for you. I’m excited for all of the things we have accomplished throughout this time” said Tony Hardy, lead truck driver training instructor.
When the pandemic hit “people started panicking. They were going to the grocery store and the shelves were empty. Do you know the first thing they started thinking about? When is the truck going to be here?” Hardy said. “All of a sudden, truckers came to the forefront of this county because without us, things don’t get moved.”
Hardy also talked about the trucking industry’s role in COVID-19 vaccine distribution. “The trucking industry was already there and had the logistics in place to make this happen,” he said.
“It is a great time to be in this industry. There’s a lot of opportunities out there,” Hardy said.
Graduates of the program can expect to earn from $40,000 to $60,000 annually in their first year with an established company. Employment is available locally, regionally, and nationally in various industries, governmental agencies, and by self-employment.
WCC’s next Truck Driving Training course will run Jan. 12-April 22, 2021. Classes will be held at the college 6-10 p.m., Tuesdays through Thursdays and 7 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturdays in college facilities with college-provided equipment. Incoming students for this class must register by Jan. 4.
A list of enrollment requirements, as well as details about the program, can be found at www.waynecc.edu/continuing-ed/truck-driving-training-program/.