WANTED: MORE TRUCK DRIVERS
Wanted: More Truck Drivers. It is a job advertisement that is far too common in our local region. The importance of trucking is communicated by the industry adage: “If you bought it, a truck brought it.” With over eighty percent of all communities in the United States relying exclusively on trucks to deliver goods, it takes a well-trained workforce to keep our economy rolling. According to the Journal of Commerce, the number of truck drivers is approximately nine percent below its peak in 2007 when the industry supplied work for 1.7 million drivers.
In an effort to meet this critical workplace demand for qualified truck drivers, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Richland Community College have partnered to train tanker truck drivers.
On April 23, a 2007 Mack Truck with a shiny 48-foot tanker in tow rolled out of the ADM trucking headquarters and headed north on Brush College Road to its new home and training lot at Richland Community College.
Dr. Gayle Saunders, president of Richland Community College, said, “I am thankful for the generous donation of the truck and trailer by ADM to Richland. The fact is truck driving is only one of several occupations where students who complete training are almost certain to go to work immediately. Most students receive several job offers prior to completion of their training. The continued partnership between ADM and Richland is essential to training a well-qualified and much needed trucking workforce, particularly in consideration of Decatur’s recent designation of the Mid-West Inland Port.”
Since 1997, Richland Community College has been training students to secure a job in the trucking industry. The class “A” CDL program is approved by the Illinois Community College Board, and a CDL license can be secured upon completion of the four-week course. The part-time evening program can be completed in eight weeks. The tanker endorsement would follow the completion of the CDL program and requires an additional two weeks of training. According to Commercial Driver’s License Instructor Jim Turnbull, “The addition of the semi and trailer will allow Richland to keep pace with the student demand for training. But more importantly, it will allow students to access a tanker endorsement in addition to their CDL.”
The Richland Community College truck driver program works with many trucking companies that will pre-hire students. For more information, please call Paula at 217-875-7211, extension 261.