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Philly Community College program aims to tackle national truck driver shortage

PHILADELPHIA CREAM – The Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) is introducing students to the possibility of a career in truck driving through a new non-credit commercial truck driving program.

The program, which will launch in September, will see the partnership between CCP and Ancora Education, a Texas-based company that provides competitive skills-based training to thousands of students and employees each year. Courses will be available through the college’s business solutions department.

“We’ve wanted to create a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) program at CCP for some time because it’s a high-demand profession, but we never had the space for the program,” said Carol de Fries, vice-president. workforce and economic innovation at CCP.

“Ancora has the expertise and they have worked with other community colleges across the country to launch successful CDL training programs, so we thought partnering with them would be just perfect,” she added. . “We are really excited about the program and to see it come to fruition.”

The four-week, 160-hour program, which will take place at the Northeast Regional Center, will provide students with a combination of classroom learning and on-the-road driving training to prepare students for the CDL Class A exam. .

Class A CDL licenses are issued to adults 18 years of age or older who have demonstrated qualifications to drive any combination of vehicles with a combined gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, provided the gross vehicle towed weight rating is in addition to 10,000 pounds.

Program participants must have a driver’s license, valid CDL license and clean motor vehicle record prior to enrolling and will be required to pass the Department of Transportation’s drug test and physical exam.

The program will comply with new entry-level driver training rules established by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration in February.

“The program will focus on light trucks, which can really meet the needs of the local economy because individuals could stay more local instead of trucking long distances,” de Fries said.

“We’re hoping we can run cohorts back-to-back to be able to reach the volume we think we’ll have,” she added. “There will probably be five individuals per cohort. We want to be able to run it continuously and do it quickly.

The CCP program comes as the country faces a shortage of truck drivers, which is contributing to supply chain disruption.

Every year, trucks carry nearly $800 billion in gross freight revenue, representing more than 80.4% of national freight.

However, a nationwide shortage of qualified drivers has had a significant impact on the supply chain, with more than 80,000 truck drivers needed to bring the industry back to needed employment levels, according to the American Trucking Association.

Over the next decade, the industry will need to recruit nearly one million new drivers into the industry to replace retiring drivers and drivers who leave voluntarily or involuntarily.

“There are over 6,000 openings in the local market for people with CDL licenses and the need for professional truck drivers shows no signs of abating,” said de Fries.

“The average entry-level job is around $50,000, but we know that many earn a lot more than that as they gain experience as well,” she said. “By offering a CDL program at CCP, we are able to serve both students looking to start this career as well as our local business partners who are struggling to find enough drivers for the workforce.”

De Fries added that the CDL program is a way for “Philadelphians to get a good job through training.”

“There are so many pathways out there for people who may not be able to immediately enroll in a two-year degree program, but they can gain training, certifications and skills that can help them find a job. employment,” said de Fries.

“We want to be able to provide more of these pathways as an insight and as a college serving our community.”

Chanel Hill is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared.

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