Trident Tech launches program to ease truck driver shortage

VIDEO: Trident Tech launches program to ease truck driver shortage

MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCSC) - Trident Technical College says the number of job openings for commercial truck drivers in the state will only increase over the next few years.

Trident Tech President Mary Thornley says they plan to renovate their Berkeley Campus into a training facility that will house Commercial Driver’s License training, a new diesel mechanic program, and IT and Logistics training.

“So, we’re responding to a community need for truck drivers and diesel mechanics and all the logistics related careers,” Thornley said. “It’s a high paying career, these are not jobs that we have to go import people from anywhere else.”

Thornley says they are still waiting for additional state funding for the entire renovation and building of the new Truist Transportation and Logistics Center.

However, thanks to a grant from Truist Bank, Trident is launching a new CDL training program this summer.

Thornley says there’s an acute need for drivers right now. Trident says 2,000 to 4,000 CDL driver jobs are projected to be open in less than five years.

Trident Dean of Manufacturing and Maintenance Robert Elliott says students through the new program, students will be able to obtain a CDL certificate in as short as nine weeks. He says there will be day and evening sessions for students and programs will start every three weeks.

Elliott says during the program, students will learn and practice driving on truck simulators. He says the simulation will let them run through scenarios in a controlled environment, before moving to a real truck. Trident plans to have at least four commercial trucks on campus as well.

“I’m excited for our residents. This state-of-the-art program is going to be one that is very unique to this area,” Elliott said. “Our students, when they leave our program, they are going to be confident and proficient enough to operate that equipment,” Elliott said.

Elliott added that students will have the opportunity to take the CDL license test on campus.

He says they plan to have recruiters coming to classes to talk to students.

Trident is able to start the program this summer because of a $1 million grant from Truist Foundation. Truist Bank Market President Mark Lattanzio says they felt it was important to help support a community need in workforce development.

“Many of our commercial clients at the bank are really dependent on truck drivers and there’s been a nation wide shortage of drivers,” Lattanzio says.

Trident Tech is hoping to start this CDL program in mid-July. They say there’s already about 50 people on a waitlist for the program.

As for the renovation project for the new Truist Transportation and Logistics Center, Thornley says that’s expected to cost $32 million.

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