South Ga. Tech trucking students through new program amid driver shortage

Video from WALB
Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 6:27 PM EDT
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AMERICUS, Ga. (WALB) - The commercial truck driving industry has seen an extreme shortage of drivers.

South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) is offering a two-week program for students to get their commercial driver’s license. Which will get them started toward landing jobs with good salaries and benefits.

Moving up in the truck driving industry can be hard without your CDL.

One skill that drivers miss is that they come in knowing how to drive but not knowing all the safety aspects.

Robert Cook is the CDL instructor at South Georgia Technical College.
Robert Cook is the CDL instructor at South Georgia Technical College.(Source: WALB)

“In January of 2015 and we’ve seen the program exactly tripled since the start with this two-week program. We’ve only had operation actually since July. Since then, we’ve run 60 students through here. All 60 students have passed and made it through and they’re back in their job doing a job,” said Robert Cook, CDL instructor at South Georgia Technical College.

Devin Dockery works with Albany Gas & Light and is an apprentice lineman student in the program.

“The benefits of coming through the short program is that I’m not spending a lot of time at school, I’m not having to take time away from my family in the evenings. I can come in here and get it done,” said Dockery.

Devin Dockery works at Albany Gas & Light and is an apprentice lineman student that's part of...
Devin Dockery works at Albany Gas & Light and is an apprentice lineman student that's part of the two week program.(Source: WALB)

Over the last five years, SGTC has seen a lot more females in the program, from both the driving and the technical sides.

“From our corporate standpoint, we need drivers for every facet that we do we have multiple divisions and I need CDL drivers for Class A moving equipment. I need CDL drivers for our technicians to be able to go out and actually repair the equipment, which is what we use the two-week program for, and we use the other program for our class A program,” said Jeff Cornwell, a recruiter for Yancey Bros. Co.

The two-week program provides short-term training that benefits businesses and students.

The two-week program is already seeing success.

Those that already have jobs and graduate from the program are guaranteed a raise of $4 more than the average wage.

Jeff Cornwell is a recruiter for Yancey Bros. Co.
Jeff Cornwell is a recruiter for Yancey Bros. Co.(Source: WALB)

South Georgia Technical College has also partnered with businesses that need trained drivers to stay in business.

“We’re still experiencing a lot of problems with that supply chain, and it has to do with transportation and transporting goods back from truck, cargo ships and from the manufacturing manufacturers that are providing the goods. So, there’s a desperate need for truck drivers in our country,” said John Watford, SGTC president.