HCC’s truck driver training program helping address area need

(June 12, 2006) - While the U.S. Department of Labor expects employment in the transportation industry to grow 23 percent through the year 2012, the local need could be even greater, according to Bob Simmers, commercial vehicle transportation specialist at Hagerstown Community College.

“The Tri-State area faces a critical shortage of drivers because of the high demand produced by the numerous distribution facilities located along Interstates 70 and 81, and the number of current drivers nearing retirement,” said Simmers.

Hagerstown Community College is addressing this shortage by expanding its CVT Program. Program officials have ordered three new tractors and trailers, three new portable classroom buildings, and a new computer lab with driver simulators. Two new instructors have been hired and Simmers said more will be hired if necessary. The expansion efforts will double the capacity, accommodating up to 140 students per year.

“When local companies and prospective students think of commercial transportation training, we want them to immediately think of Hagerstown Community College,” Simmers added.

According to Simmers, HCC’s job placement rate for the 70 CVT students who graduated in 2005 was 95 percent. The average starting salary was $42,000.

“Truck driving is a respectable career choice with job stability and above average pay and benefits,” Simmers said. “Job openings exist for local, regional, and long-haul drivers with local companies.”

Students in HCC’s program can choose from three class schedules. There’s an eight-week Monday through Friday daytime program, a 15-week Saturday/Sunday daytime program, and a 15-week Monday through Friday evening program. The next class begins May 15.

HCC’s truck driver training is credited and can be applied towards an A.A.S. degree in Commercial Transportation Administration. The A.A.S. degree will prepare students for management positions in the transportation/distribution industry. HCC offers free job placement assistance. For more information, contact Simmers at 301-790-2800, ext. 449, or simmersb@hagerstowncc.edu.