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July 29, 2022

Community College of Philadelphia to offer commercial driver's license program this fall

The school is partnering with Texas-based Ancora Education to help address the nationwide truck driver shortage

The Community College of Philadelphia will begin offering a non-credit commercial driver's license program this September in an effort to help fight the nationwide truck driver shortage.

The program is a partnership with Ancora Education, a Texas-based company that provides secondary education in vocational areas such as truck driving, wellness, security, and information technology. The four-week program will take place at the Northeast Regional Training Center and costs $5,000.

The need for truck drivers has not slowed down and there is a demand in Philadelphia specifically, said Carol J. de Fries, CCP's vice president for workforce and economic innovation, in a release. She noted that there are currently around 6,000 jobs in the region that require a CDL.

" ... by offering CDL at CCP, we're able to serve both students who are interested in starting a career, as well as our local business partners who are struggling to find enough drivers for their workforce," de Fries said. 

The program will have five student classes that will operate under the new entry-level driver training rules established in February. Under the rules, drivers must complete a program of both theory and behind the wheel to take the CDL test.

Course work includes 160-hours of lectures, labs, and field training that emphasize inspections, defensive driving, cargo handling, maintenance, and accident prevention. Students will learn how to properly operate trucks with a gross weight combination of at least 26,001 pounds.

In order to qualify for the program, applicants must be 18 years or older with a driver's license, a clean driving record, and a CDL permit. All participants must pass a drug screening and physical examination, as well.

CCP hopes to facilitate multiple classes of the program simultaneously to increase the influx of drivers entering the trucking field, de Fries said.

The national shortage of truck drivers has contributed to interruptions in the supply chain, which has resulted in empty shelves at grocery stores and higher prices.

Trucking accounts for 80% of the United States freight revenue, pulling in $800 billion yearly. America relies heavily on trucking for daily essentials such as food, water, and household products. Around 70% of the country's freight is delivered by trucks.

The American Trucking Association estimates that there was a shortage of just over 80,000 drivers in 2021. If the trend continues, there can be as many as 160,000 drivers needed by 2030.

On average, 300,000 workers stop driving freight trucks every year, according to the Transportation Department. Coupled with the ever-evolving threat of COVID-19, the trucking industry is in a crisis. 

Many drivers cite low pay and long hours as reasons that cause them to step away from the trucking industry.

Sergey Zaturanov, CTO & Co-founder of online freight shipping marketplace Doft, told Forbes that if dispatching companies want to keep truckers, they must prioritize making their experience more fruitful – meaning better rest areas, safe environments, and fair compensation.

In 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the median pay for a truck driver was $48,310.

“The solution to the driver shortage will most certainly require increased pay, regulatory changes and modifications to shippers’, receivers’ and carriers’ business practices to improve conditions for drivers,” Nick Geale, vice president for workforce policy at the American Trucking Association, told Zenger News.