Driving a semi tractor trailer rig requires plenty of education and training.
And right now m any trucking companies are having trouble finding enough drivers to hire.
R ocky Elledge, 56, is just finishing up his third week of the four week program in the John Wood Truck Driver Training Program. H e retired about a year and a half ago and decided that sitting at home wasn't for him. So he decided to take the opportunity to go through the program and get his CDL.
" They teach you the right way to do stuff and give you confidence of being able to handle those big trucks and all that length behind you that when you're driving down the road in a car you don't have," Elledge said.
Students go to class Monday through Friday for four weeks from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The first three weeks, students train in the truck in the mornings and are in the classroom in the afternoons. But the last week, those students are in the truck the entire day. Right now, there are eight students in the class and the there's usually a one to one student to teacher ratio or a two to one student teacher ratio. It's something that has enabled John Wood to be one of three certified truck driving schools in the state.
" We have many companies that come in here recruiting our students and our students typically have multiple job offers before they finish the program," Don Hess said. Hess is the truck driver training program chairperson at JWCC.
The program has been around since 1994. The cost to enroll is $3750 , but there are some options available for those students who need help with tuition. Hess said at one point several years ago, there were 20 to 25 students in the class. But he says new federal regulations has required a more one on one ratio of students to teachers. He also said there is a great need for qualified drivers and they can average about $40,000 a year on their first job after they graduate from the program.