At Monday’s board meeting, Texarkana College Trustees approved the continuation of the Professional Driving Academy training program by signing an instructional contract with Ancora, a national leading provider for CDL Class-A training. Mendy Sharp, Executive Director of TC’s Community and Business Education Division, said the job outlook for professional truck drivers is strong and continuously growing due to the high demand from on-line retailers and delivery transportation companies.
“TC’s Professional Driving Academy trains students in a 4-week program to enter a high-demand career with annual earnings of up to $75,000 or more in some cases,” said Sharp. “The need for reliable commercial drivers is at an all-time high right now due to the demand from suppliers of essentials– from vaccines and medical equipment to food and auto parts. More than 80% of US commodities depend on trucks for the delivery of everyday goods*. As a result, the income for drivers is likely to continue to increase as retailers and delivery companies are scrambling to find drivers. Completing the professional truck driving academy has opened the door of employment opportunities to gain a competitive salary and job security for many students.”
Sharp said TC began the professional driving academy in 2014 to provide CDL training.
“When we began our program, we partnered with International Schools, a national, private provider of professional driving training curriculum,” said Sharp. “In July 2020, Ancora, purchased International Schools and continues to offer the same outstanding curriculum to our students. Ancora is a trusted CDL partner of community colleges, government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies such as Amazon and McClane.”
Sharp said more than 270 students from across the region have completed the program since 2014 with the skills and knowledge needed to operate and maintain tractor-trailers and successfully pass their CDL exam. According to Ancora, there is an estimated deficit of more than 60,000 drivers across all industries and in Texas alone, there are 9,000 full time job openings for entry level drivers.
The following skills are taught and practiced during the course:
- Professional drivers’ safety procedures including alcohol and drug effects; laws and penalties.
- Performing pre-trip and post trip vehicle inspections
- Basic and advanced road training in all situations, including terrain, weather conditions, pedestrians, and traffic situations.
- Straight backing, off set backing, and 90 degree backing maneuver (AR) and parallel parking (TX).
- Map reading, logbooks, cargo documentation, dispatch procedures, emergency responsibilities, and regulations of transportation agencies.
- Employment expectations of over-the-road drivers including travel to all 48 states and Canada.
“Class sizes are small, typically 6 to 8 students, so that each one gets one-on-one instruction and practice,” said Sharp. “We have not had an increase to the cost of our program since our beginning in 2014, and there are funding sources and scholarships available to qualified students to help off-set their out-of-pocket course cost of $4,191. This program is not covered by federal financial aid programs such as FAFSA.”
For more information about the program, to download a brochure, or to speak to an enrollment specialist, students can call 903-823-3434, or visit https://www.texarkanacollege.edu/professional-driving-academy/