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Truck Driver Program continues to grow with Gadsden State Ayers Campus

This week, Gadsden State announced a new Class A driver program being launched at its Ayers Campus site.

The program is supported by the Alabama Trucking Association (ATA).

ATA CEO Mark Colson provided Yellowhammer News with details about the program and others like it supporting qualified training for those interested in becoming a professional truck driver.

According to the ATA, truck driving is one of the top 10 professions that will have a deficit over the next decade. It is projected over that time that there would be an increased need for more than 80,000 new Class A drivers and diesel mechanics.

There are a total of 15 community colleges partnering with the ATA to offer programs for training individuals interested in pursuing a driving career.

Ayers is the latest community college to begin offering a training program.

In an interview, Colson shared that the average age of a new Class A driver is 38-years-old.

ATA is working to help lower the average age by encouraging younger individuals to choose to begin professional development immediately following high school. They are also working to employ more military veterans and female drivers.

Colson commented, “We have to scale up our recruitment and training of younger individuals to meet the growing demands of the field.”

One of the main issues confronting new drivers according to Colson is the difficulty of getting insured. However, thanks to state laws and efforts from ATA drivers with less than two years of experience can find apprentice programs driving within state lines to acquire the necessary experience. Drivers can begin these apprenticeships as young as 18-years-old.

These apprenticeships partnered with educational opportunities offered through programs like Gadsden State will help provide clear pathways for those interested in pursuing careers as Class A drivers.

Another step in the education for those interested in a driving career is the new CDL curriculum from the Alabama Community College Innovation Center.

In partnership with the ATA, this curriculum is being developed to allow flexibility to educational facilities and training centers to make sure that drivers in Alabama are prepared to earn their license.

There is also an industry advocation program on the ATA website called “Shift Your Career into High Gear.” This is a tool developed to inspire those interested in obtaining a Class A license. The hope is seeing testimonials from individuals like them will inspire others to choose driving as a first career rather than a career change.

If you are interested in pursuing a career as a professional driver and obtaining a Class A license, you can find more information on the ATA careers webpage here.