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RCC’s CDL and Truck Driving Academy continues to grow and thrive amid shortage

You may not notice it on the road, but there is still a growing shortage of truck drivers across the country. It was one of the reasons Robeson Community College decided to start its own Truck Driving program.

With the generous donation of two-day cabs from Mountaire Farms, RCC was able to launch the program in 2022. Since that time, the program has produced hundreds of truck drivers, like Tony Locklear.

 “I always wanted to drive big trucks, I always thought it would be a great career,” stated Locklear. “By coming to Robeson Community College, I was able to get hired on at Mountaire Farms… it is a great job, I enjoy it.”

“Truck drivers are the link that keeps our economy moving,” stated Braxton Ballard, the director of Transportation at RCC. “Without them, goods, supplies, and food cannot make it to the store; livestock and grain cannot be taken from farm to farm, and items from Amazon or other retailers cannot be shipped.”

With the shortage of drivers continuing to get worse, more and more companies are seeking good, qualified candidates, and are willing to offer more incentives to get people back behind the wheel of big rigs.

In fact, there’s never been a better time to become a truck driver than today.  

“We have had many graduates complete the program and get hired immediately, making anywhere from $60 to $100,000 a year,” Ballard said. “They are changing their lives, their family lives. They are able to make a living wage and do more than just make ends meet, they’re making a life and being able to do more like buy a house, buy a new car, and take a vacation.”

In December, Robeson Community College graduated 34 students from its CDL and Truck Driving Academy. It was the largest graduation to date. Most graduates have already found employment and already working in the field, making deliveries and transporting products for local companies. Some are even making cross-country trips having gained employment with global import and export logistic companies.

During the graduation, Ballard reflected upon the start of the program and how graduates could use that as motivation for their careers.

“Today we celebrate the graduates of the CDL program at RCC,” Ballard said. “Who would have thought that a dream to offer a new CDL program at RCC would come true?  When I began this journey with the CDL program, I knew that the blood, sweat, and tears put into the program would offer the opportunity for greater things to come to the students who walked through the doors.” 

“This graduation is proof that hard work, dedication, and determination will always produce positive results,” Ballard continued. “Because of a dream at RCC, others now have the option to be trained, become gainfully employed, own their own trucking companies, and live their own dream.”

Quoting Earl Nightingale, Braxton said, “All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination…To the graduates, I challenge you to keep striving for more, move with integrity, and know that greater is possible when you dream, put a plan in place, and work on completing your goals.”

The program at RCC continues to grow and thrive. With the start of a new semester, Ballard says his class accepted 27 new students and there are already 4 other classes scheduled to start throughout the year.  

“The program at RCC is challenging, but if you are willing to work hard, the instructors and director do all that they can to help you,” Locklear said, reflecting back on his time as a student. “RCC is one of the best schools in the state. It is affordable, and if you work a full-time job, it is flexible.   

“Getting your CDL’s can be life-changing,” Ballard added. “And, it can help build upon other credentials in the future.”

 

December 2023 Truck Driving Academy Graduates

  • Craig Alford
  • Jose Bautista
  • Brian Bell
  • Felton Bowen
  • Jessica Branch
  • Garrett Bullock
  • Brandon Caulder
  • Aveyon Davis
  • Albert Demery
  • Sammuel Graham
  • William Harrigton
  • Jennifer Inman
  • Dewayne Jones
  • Steven Kelly
  • Antonio Locklear
  • Kalan Locklear
  • Lakota Locklear
  • Luke Locklear
  • Jaquavia Matthews
  • William Meza
  • Brian Morgan
  • Calvin Porter
  • Hunter Phillips
  • Carlos Regan
  • Darone Rozier
  • Enrique Sanchez
  • Hunter Smith
  • Tyler Smith
  • Tyshawn Smith
  • Matthew Stewart
  • Billie Thompson
  • Justin Whitted
  • Richard Williams
  • Elton Young

 

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