Schools join trucking forces

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 24, 2004

LIVINGSTON–The University of West Alabama has joined forces with Shelton State Community College and are ready to train a new convey of student truck drivers. UWA and Shelton State along with corporate sponsors are working together to meet the community needs for more better paying jobs.

The Truck Driving Technical Program is a six-week, 210-hour program that qualifies drivers to begin careers and make as much as $35,000 to $40,000 in their first year on the road. UWA provides teaching space on the Livingston campus, and Shelton provides the teacher.

“It is a unique partnership,” commented instructor Joe Anders. “Jobs are available for students who successfully complete the program.

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“The demand is there and the opportunity is there,” he said.

The need for qualified commercial drivers has led to McElroy Truck Lines of Cuba, AL to donate a practice vehicle to the program and Suttles Trucking to donate fuel for the truck.

The owner of McElroy Trucking Shawn McElroy said they feel that UWA is a vital part to the community of Livingston and Sumter County. He also said they wanted to do their part in helping to make sure the program was a success.

“Since we are in the trucking business, we would hope to hire some of the drivers that come out of that program, McElroy said, “It’s a win-win situation for all the parties involved.”

The course prepares students for entry-level positions in the industry as tractor-trailer drivers or as standard truck drivers. Students receive classroom, range, and highway training for Class “A” Commercial Drivers License with air brake, tank, hazardous materials and doubles/triples endorsements when applicable. Upon successfully passing the Commercial Driver’s License written exam and skills requirements, the student will receive his/her operator’s license from the Alabama Department of Public Safety and a certificate of completion from Shelton State Community College.

“Once they finish this course, they are not only qualified to work for a trucking firm, they can also do any type of commercial trucking such as working as a local delivery driver,” Anders said.

Tuition for the program is $2450, but many people in west Alabama and east Mississippi may qualify for federal tuition assistance. A physical and drug screening are required for the program, and participants must pay a $55 fee for those tests. To qualify for tuition assistance, a student must be unemployed, 21 years of age, and have a valid driver’s license without serious violations.

Each six-week session can accommodate a maximum of four students. Session dates are: June 7 through July 16, July 26 through September 3, September 13 through October 22, and November 1 through December 17. Application and reservations should be made well in advance of each session.

For registration information, contact Joe Anders on the campus of the University of West Alabama at (205) 652-3703 or (205) 652-3666.