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ACC Responds to Local Demand with Professional Truck Driving Program

According to the American Trucking Association (ATA) in Washington, D.C., there will be a shortage of more than 300,000 over-the-road drivers per year for the next ten years.

Austin-- At a news conference on Thursday, March 23, Austin Community College in partnership with International Schools, will announce a new program to train professional truck drivers. International Schools will teach the classes, and the curriculum conforms to Department of Transportation requirements.

Date: Thursday, March 23

Time: 11:00 a.m. -11:30 a.m.

Place: Crockett Center
6301 Hwy. 290 East (Between I-35 & Cameron Rd.)

"The demand for local drivers is equally high and many Austin trucking companies are offering attractive and competitive wages," said Dr. Richard Fonté, president of Austin Community College. "With this shortage and the growth of the trucking industry, there is a tremendous need for entry-level drivers and truck driver training."

"We're pleased to be able to offer professional truck driving training to Austin area residents," said Dr. Sue Pardue, dean of Workforce Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning. "We offer hundreds of continuing education courses each term, and many of them are computer related or in the business area. This truck driving school is

an example of our ability to respond to a labor market need in another occupational area. With the attractive wage scale, I am sure many local residents will be interested in entering this training."

About International Schools

International Schools began in 1993 in Sunland Park, New Mexico, to provide truck driver training to the El Paso and southern New Mexico area. Because of the explosive growth in the trucking industry, the program expanded throughout Texas utilizing cooperative training agreements with several community colleges, including Odessa College, South Plains College, Mountain View and Eastfield Colleges in the Dallas County Community College District, Laredo, Coastal Bend College, South Texas Community College and Texas Southmost.

In 1999, these programs trained and placed 1,983 entry-level drivers into the industry. Placement is part of the program's admissions process, and most students are prehired by a trucking company prior to starting classes. "Employability" is the key ingredient in the screening of individuals for possible employment as "over-the-road" or local truck drivers. Placement of drivers in the industry who have successfully completed the truck-driving program is more than 98%.

The availability of funding to train drivers is an important factor in the success of these programs. Funding is available through the Texas Workforce Commission Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the Texas Rehabilitation Commission (TRC) and the Trade Adjustment Act (TAA).

The training takes four weeks or 200 clock hours. Students attend classes five days per week, ten hours a day and receive instructions covering the CDL written exams and "hands-on" road experience. After completing the classroom training, students spend three weeks driving, including one half-day, every day, learning backing maneuvers. The other half-day is spent driving on streets and highways, progressing from light to heavy traffic. During the last week of training, students take the Commercial Driver License (CDL) road exam at the Department of Public Safety and receive their CDL with endorsements. All successful students receive a Class A CDL prior to graduation.

After graduation from this program, students will be accomplished in street and long-range driving in vehicles requiring a commercial driver's license and in securing an entry-level job as an over-the-road driver with a commercial driver's license. The program also covers safety procedures, the effects of alcohol and drugs, laws and penalties applicable to the professional driver, vehicle and equipment inspections, safe driving techniques, map reading, logbooks, cargo documentation, dispatch procedures, emergency responsibilities and transportation agency regulations.

In most cases, students enter into a paid over-the-road-training program with the company who hired them. This training ranges from six to twelve weeks, depending on each company's requirements. Average incomes for first year, entry-level, over-the-road drivers, range from $25,000 to 35,000 per year.

NOTE: Students, who will be graduating from the program on Friday, March 24, will be available for interviews.

Posted: 03/22/2000 11:23 am

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