Cape Fear Community College ‘puts the brakes’ on supply chain crisis with truck driver training program

NEW HANOVER COUNTY (WWAY) — With a supply chain crisis around the world and in the Cape Fear, there’s more need than ever for truck drivers in our area.

With more than 230 ways to earn a credential, Cape Fear Community College has rolled out an expanded truck driving program to help.

“This is an opportunity to get people in a short amount of time into a job that’s recession proof,” said CFCC Workforce Development VP, John Downing. “And they’ll be able to earn a very fine salary in a short period.”

While the problem has gotten worse with the pandemic, Al Gover, the program director says the U.S. has had a driver shortage for decades.

According to Gover, “We’re so far behind right now on our supply chain that we would have to hire about 900,000 drivers in order to catch up with the demand.”

Gover said another reason for the shortage is drivers retiring. In the U.S., the average truck driver on the road is 55.

“They’re getting ready to retire in another few years, and there’s not as many people coming into the market to fill those positions,” Gover explained.

Last year, the college graduated hundreds of new truck drivers into the industry, with almost all of them finding a position right after training. The eight-week course gives students 74 hours in the classroom, 240 hours behind the wheel, and all but guarantees a job after graduating.

“We have a lot of relationships with employers in the area. We bring them in, they interview our folks and they put them to work.”

The job is not without its challenges. It can mean long hours away from home, but Gover says it’s still a good living. Drivers typically make between $60,000 and $70,000 a year right out of school.

The 30 year truck driving veteran gives the green light to anyone wanting to follow in his tread marks.

“A long time that I’ve been doing this job. Thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

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