BRYAN, Texas — A truck driver shortage is nothing new, but during the COVID-19 pandemic the demand has gotten greater. Blinn College District is training students to fill that need with their Professional Truck Driving Program.
“Truck drivers are essential and critical to our infrastructure," said Karla Flanagan, the dean of Technical Education and Community Programs at Blinn College.
People and businesses are relying on deliveries from trucking frontline heroes. They’re the ones that are helping supply foods, medicines and other necessary products.
“The Technical Education and Community Programs division at Blinn is really committed to identifying training that our community needs,” Flanagan said. "Our students that complete this program are very successful in obtaining their license from the Department of Public Safety and they’re very successful about obtaining employment.”
The median salary for truck drivers is $45,260 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“I was looking to just drive over the road again and just be at one with the road again," said Tony Baker, a student in the Blinn program.
This is Baker’s third-week in the five-week program. He previously had his commercial driver’s license (CDL) and wanted to obtain it again. That’s when he stumbled upon Blinn’s courses.
“There’s basically a lot of one on one, so you’d get all the in’s and out’s," Baker said.
The program has two courses. Students learn how to perform vehicle and equipment inspections for before, during and after the trip. Those in the class also learn other skills like map reading, what do in an emergency, regulations of the road and much more.
“This is a big vehicle that can tear up a lot of things that you won’t even know about," Baker said.
The course is there to help students get their CDL's and find job opportunities on the road.
“There a high demand for the job and its almost guaranteed that once you get out of school you should land a truck driving job," Baker said.
The next section of the truck driving program at Blinn College begins Sept. 21. The school has new sections open each month in the fall semester. The cost for the program is $4,995.