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SGTC College gets boost from USDA

AMERICUS — The Department of Agriculture announced a $99,999 grant award to South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) that will help commercial truck driving students gain specialized training and meet the region’s need for qualified truck drivers. Funding is from USDA’s Rural Business Development Grant program (RBDG), a competitive grant designed to support targeted technical assistance, training and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural areas.
SGTC will use the $99,999 grant to upgrade its fleet of commercial trucks with the purchase of two used (2007 or newer) tractor cabs and two used (2007 or newer) 53 ft.-trailers, which is now the industry standard. The funds will also be used to upgrade the college’s commercial truck driving simulator. The estimated cost of this project is $112,001; the SGTC Foundation has agreed to provide the additional funds for this project.
“This project represents a substantial upgrade to the commercial truck driving training program resources at South Georgia Tech. Modernizing the driving simulator and adding the new vehicles to the training fleet will help enhance safety as South Georgia Technical College continues to meet business and industry needs for trained licensed Commercial Truck Drivers,” said Jill Stuckey, USDA Rural Development State director.
“We are very pleased to have been awarded this competitive grant,” said SGTC President John Watford, Ed.D. “This is a tremendous opportunity for us to upgrade our commercial truck driving fleet and provide valuable training to students interested in pursuing a career as a commercial truck driver.”
SGTC has been providing qualified graduates for the truck driving industry since 1987. The Best Trucking Schools.com recently ranked SGTC’s commercial truck driving program as one of the best in the state of Georgia and 35th in the South. Over 214 different colleges and private commercial truck driving programs were evaluated by The Best Trucking Schools.com.
Each student in the commercial truck driving program must complete at least 600 documented driving miles to graduate. When the driving miles are multiplied by 20 or more students each semester, the SGTC commercial trucks are being driven at least 12,000 miles per semester. The wear and tear on the college’s truck fleet by unskilled trainee drivers is tremendous.
Since 2009, nationwide, USDA Rural Development has invested $13.5 billion for 5,739 water and waste infrastructure projects, benefiting 19.1 million rural residents; invested nearly $13 billion to start or expand nearly 112,000 rural businesses; helped 1.1 million rural residents buy homes; funded nearly 9,200 community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care facilities; and helped bring high-speed Internet access to nearly 6 million rural residents and businesses. USDA also has invested $31.3 billion in 963 electric projects that have financed more than 185,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines serving 4.6 million rural residents. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/results. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.