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A new Spartanburg Community College program seeks to give potential truck drivers a better chance at employment by providing more training on the open road.
The college’s Tyger River Campus in Duncan is now offering a six-week program for tractor-trailer drivers and a two-week program for drivers looking for experience with box trucks or other delivery vehicles.
“The state of South Carolina does regulate all truck driver training courses, but we’re giving the students a lot more training. It’s going to be intense. We want it to be an elite program,” said Randall Parnell, director of the truck driving program at SCC.
Parnell said the program was partly inspired by a shortage of truck drivers reported by some large national companies.
A report from the American Trucking Association determined about 100,000 more truck drivers are needed nationwide, with that number set to grow to 175,000 by 2024, Parnell said.
Robert Leslie is dean of the corporate and community education division at SCC, where the truck driving program is housed.
Leslie said the average starting salary for truck drivers is about $40,000 per year.
“Going through our program, in six weeks, you would be able to obtain a good-paying job,” Leslie said.
“If you spend six weeks in this program and start out making 40 grand a year, that’s not bad,” Parnell added.
A total of five tractors, five trailers and a box truck were purchased by SCC for the program. Leslie said all the tractors, a trailer and the box truck are set to be delivered to the school within two weeks.
Anyone looking to enroll in the program won’t have to meet typical college entrance requirements since it’s not a degree program, Leslie said. He said it’s an ideal program for someone looking for a steady job.
“There’s always a truck that has to take (goods) to the back door of a retail store,” he said. “There’s always going to be jobs in trucking.”
Courses could start as early as October. Anyone interested in registering or getting involved with the program can call Parnell at 864-592-4472.