Once again, CCBC was in the national spotlight as Nora O’Donnell of CBS Evening News was filmed learning how to double clutch a 16-wheeler commercial truck at CCBC’s TradePoint Atlantic Transportation Center. There is a national shortage of truck drivers and a limited number of places where individuals can be trained. CCBC is one of 140 publicly funded schools nationwide training drivers, who upon completion of a 280-hour program, can go directly into the workforce. Even better, CCBC’s tuition-free program has enabled over 95% of the students to access this life changing training at no cost.
Truck driving sits at the top of the list of 20 family sustaining wage earning jobs. In the CBS news clip, listen to the words of CCBC student Latisha Gardner, typical of the over 300 students in the CDL program. Mother of four, struggling through a myriad of minimum wage jobs, Ms. Gardner eloquently expresses the mix of hope and frustration of many as she says, with a catch in her voice, “I hope to have a job by Christmas.” I am pleased to say that she now does indeed have a job, driving a big rig and making $23/hour.
This is what community colleges do to meet the workforce needs of their region and their states. CCBC has plunked its CDL training center smack in the middle of an industrial complex occupied by companies such as Amazon, Fed Ex, and UPS, all of whom need truck drivers. At CCBC, we believe that everything we do is workforce development whether we are educating truck drivers, accountants, nurses, teachers, welders, construction workers, dancers or poets. Even poets have to eat! No other sector of higher education can do what we do! That’s the magic of the open door mission.