South Georgia Tech’s new CDL initiative helping area companies

Published 1:38 pm Wednesday, August 31, 2022

From Staff Reports

 

AMERICUS – South Georgia Technical College is “going the extra mile” by working with area businesses and industries to help alleviate the shortage of trained commercial truck drivers by offering a two-week class for individuals already employed who need restricted Class A and Class B commercial truck driver’s certifications to perform their current duties.

“This is a win-win situation for both the employers and the employees,” said South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford. “The South Georgia Technical College Commercial Truck Driving Program is now offering the two-week CDL classes for business and industry partners who have employees that will benefit from the restricted Class A and Class B licenses.  Robert Cook, our lead instructor has been working on this project and it is allowing us to provide needed workforce development training for our business partners and their employees.”

SGTC CDL Instructor Robert Cook spoke with the Electric Membership Cooperatives (EMC) throughout Georgia about the new program and has already conducted training for Georgia Power, Caterpillar, John Deere and several EMC’s throughout Georgia.  He is also conducting training for employees of the City of Albany and other municipalities and local businesses.  See video: https://youtu.be/8RyXOi2pd6U

This program was initiated in response to new entry-level driver training (ELDT) requirements adopted February 7th, 2022 that states all entry-level drivers will be subject to the requirements in the FMCSA Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) regulations.  One of the changes included being training by a provider on the Training Provider Registry before they will be permitted to take the CDL Skills Test or the H Endorsement Knowledge Test.  South Georgia Tech is an approved Training Provider.

The new SGTC CDL programs allows companies to schedule training for their employees one-week on campus and then one week on-site before they return to South Georgia Technical College to test for the restrictive Class A and Class B licenses.  This program is very affordable for students who qualify for the HOPE Grant and the HOPE Career Grant.  Many employers are picking up the cost.

“With the current shortage of commercial truck drivers, South Georgia Technical College is able to help meet the demand of our local companies and business partners,” explained President Watford.  “Nearly every segment of product movement in the United States involves trucks and training operators – whether it is bringing raw materials to a factory or delivering finished product to a retail store and every step in between.  South Georgia Tech has a near 100% placement rate for its Commercial Truck Driving licensed graduates.”

Velma Hodges, Administrative Manager Utility Operations for the City of Albany, is pleased with the new program. “It is very beneficial because the majority of our positions require a CDL and South Georgia Technical College is convenient and dependable.  SGTC CDL Instructor Robert Cook has been very helpful, professional, and dependable. We really appreciate South Georgia Technical College for helping us with this training.”

Hodges explained “the majority of our positions require a CDL within six months of hire date.  We have been struggling since February when the new entry-level driver training regulations went into effect requiring that all entry-level drivers of commercial motor vehicles receive training from a provider on the FMCSA’s training provider registry. Prior to this, we were able to have someone in house to train them. We are pleased with the program training provided by South Georgia Tech.”

South Georgia Technical College had already been providing this CDL training to all of the Electrical Lineworker students enrolled in its Electrical Lineworker Training program as well as the Caterpillar Heavy Equipment Dealer’s Service Technology, and John Deere Ag Technology programs. This allowed them to drive the service trucks for Caterpillar, John Deere, and utility companies.  Once the new regulations went into effect, South Georgia Tech expanded this training for partners’ existing employees who needed the training.

“We are seeing a tremendous need for this training,” said SGTC Lead CDL instructor Robert Cook. “Right now, there is a high demand for licensed truckers.  This program allows us to meet the needs of business and industry who need drivers for their service and delivery trucks.  By conducting training here one week and then allowing them to continue their training on-site at their business the second week, we can train more individuals and get them back on the job quicker.”

Thomas Toomer, an employee with the City of Albany Utilities division, is one of the students who enrolled in the program. “I would highly recommend this program to anyone who is needing their CDL.  Mr. Robert Cook is an excellent instructor and he has presented the material in a way that is interesting and informative. There are a lot of opportunities right now for CDL drivers and I appreciate the City of Albany for letting me enroll in this program.”

Devin Adam Dockery is another City of Albany employee undergoing training.  “I appreciate the opportunity to go through this program.  It is providing me with the ability to become a safer and more knowledgeable driver.”  Jaxon Cole Floyd joined Dockery and Toomer in the training held for the City of Albany.  “This has been a great experience.  Mr. Cook is an excellent instructor and I have really enjoyed my time here learning to become a certified driver.”

South Georgia Technical College also offers an eight-week Commercial Truck Driver program that is open to individuals 18 years of age for students who provide a Motor Vehicle Report showing no more than eight points or four moving violations on the Georgia Violator Scale in the past three years and no DUI in the last five years.  Students much also have a valid Georgia Driver’s License, a valid AP (CDL Learner’s License) and pass a Department of Transportation Drug Test and DOT physical exam.

For more information about the two-week or eight-week CDL program at South Georgia Technical College contact SGTC CDL instructor Robert Cook at rcook@southgatech.edu or 229-931-2976.  For more information about applying to South Georgia Technical College visit the SGTC website at www.southgatech.edu and click Apply Now or contact Admissions Director Candie Walters at cwalters@southgatech.edu or 229 -931-2299.