Grant funds truck driver training program
The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) gave Northampton Community College (NCC) a $73,975 grant to purchase seven model truck trailers for NCC’s Class A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) training program. The grant will also allow NCC to help upgrade equipment like the advanced truck driver simulator, which provides students with a simulated driving environment before they practice on the road. These enhancements are expected to bring in close to 300 new students in the first three years of implementation.
NCC offers a specialized diploma and Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in Class A Truck Driving that is certified by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) and trains students in compliance with the US Department of Transportation's (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). The program focuses on safety and provides a realistic environment in which trainees can practice their skills.
In a recent ARC newsletter, the commission stated, “As manufacturing industries expand and demand for consumer goods grow, so does the need for efficient, coordinated, and reliable logistics support including transportation.”
Due to its proximity to major east coast markets, excellent interstate highway connectivity and available land, Monroe and surrounding counties have seen a growth in warehouse and distribution centers seeking trained and reliable CDL drivers for their transportation needs. Truck drivers are in high demand due to a wave of retirements in the industry as well, and companies are finding it difficult to recruit skilled talent. Upon completion of the project, it is predicted that graduates of the program will be employed with stable, self-sustaining wages at 24 businesses in the region.
NCC’s Director of Driving Programs, Tina Frindt, says of the changes, “The upgrade will allow us to have students practice shifting prior to getting into the actual trucks without the stress of other roadway users. This is a safer way to build their confidence for the road. The purchase of the trailers will ultimately save the department money because we currently rent trailers, and it will allow us to wrap them with information about the NCC program.”
NCC’s Monroe Campus continues to make strides to keep up with trends, teach employable students, and in turn, serve the neighboring communities.