THIS STORY IS PRESENTED IN PART BY DRAKE DENTISTRY
-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College
The new Truck Driver Training, or CDL, program at Vance-Granville Community College began in February, had to be suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and then later resumed before finally concluding this month. Through all the ups and downs, VGCC officials say that the students in this first class have shown great perseverance and determination.
Jeff Bullock, of Henderson, is just one of many examples of the dedicated students in this class. Bullock, who works as a third shift engineer, earned a 4.0 grade point average and had perfect attendance. “Our highly experienced instructors provided excellent training and information inside and outside the classroom,” said Bullock. “Instructors stressed the importance of how to safely operate tractor-trailers and pay attention to detail during on-the-road training. We had access to recruiters from numerous trucking companies giving us potential job options as well as insight into the trucking industry.”
Jim Womack, lead instructor for the Truck Driver Training program, said of Bullock, “I’m very proud of Jeff. He was an outstanding student that was never absent and never late for class.”
Student Michael Haskins, of Oxford, is another positive example from the class, who also earned a 4.0 grade point average and had perfect attendance. Instructor Womack noted, “Michael is a great guy and was a big help to the entire class. He was always the first student to offer his assistance to other students.”
Haskins’ philosophy was simple: “No man left behind.” As a result of the challenges caused by COVID-19, Haskins was “willing and determined to do whatever he could do to make sure every student was successful by passing the class and getting their CDL-A license.” He described the class as a “career-changing and exciting experience.”
Student Kaylin Riley, of Creedmoor, faced challenges that he had to overcome. Womack said that he noticed “Kaylin buckling down and getting really serious about improving his driving skills and techniques – which paid off for him because he successfully completed the course and will be getting his CDL-A Driver License.”
Dawn Tucker, Dean of Continuing Education and College & Career Readiness said “Providing these young men and women the training necessary to start a new and rewarding career gives the college GREAT joy and pride! Their ability to persevere, in the midst of a pandemic, and their commitment to successfully completing all the requirements of the program, are clear indications that the best, for them, is yet to come.”
The program includes a combination of classroom instruction, range driving and road driving. With the end of training on June 25, 2020, students have successfully completed their DOT exams, making them eligible for their “Class A” Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL-A) and fully employable as truck drivers.
VGCC is scheduled to offer another nine-week class starting in August, with a mandatory orientation on July 29.
The program, offered in collaboration with Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute and certified by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI), is considered essential to meeting the needs of many companies who need drivers to move goods across the country. Local employers have shown strong support for VGCC’s program and have spoken to students about job opportunities.
To enroll in the program, students must be at least 18 years old, have a valid North Carolina driver’s license, and be able to read and speak English well enough to take instructions from highway signs, to converse with officials, and to complete the required reports.