Trucking companies and other businesses who employ commercial drivers – those who know first-hand the impact of the nation-wide shortage of truck drivers – are invited to an information session Dec. 17 to learn more about a new CDL-A training program being offered by Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo.
The information session is set for 8 to 9 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 17, at Inventrek, 700 E. Firmin St. in Kokomo. The 160-hour CDL-A training program includes one week of classroom instruction and three weeks of driving experience. It is designed to prepare participants to earn the commercial driver’s license (CDL) that will qualify them to drive commercial motor vehicles, including tractor trailers, semi-trucks, dump trucks, and passenger buses.
Ivy Tech Kokomo’s CDL-A program is part of an expanded effort by the State of Indiana to help meet current workforce demand. Under Indiana’s Next Level Jobs initiative, employers can qualify for reimbursement from the state of up to $5,000 per employee (up to $50,000 total) for training programs that include CDL training.
“According to the American Trucking Associations, the shortage of truck drivers in the United States is expected to more than double over the next decade as the industry struggles to replace aging drivers,” said Jacob Adams, workforce development consultant for Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Service Area, which includes Cass, Fulton, Howard, Miami, and Tipton counties.
“The ATA estimates that 160,000 driver positions could go unfilled across the nation in a decade,” he continued. “Ivy Tech is partnering with Summit Commercial Driver Training to prepare people to earn their CDL-A. When you consider more than 80 percent of Indiana communities depend exclusively on trucks to move their goods, you can see how important truck drivers are to our area’s economy.”
Joseph Heinlein, training manager with Summit, is directing the Ivy Tech Kokomo program. With more than 30 years of experience in the trucking industry, he understands the challenges of attracting and retaining the drivers needed to meet delivery expectations that are continually increasing.
“Driving a truck is serious business. In the current shortage, companies are finding it difficult to get their products out on time,” Heinlein said. “Freight is getting backed up. The problems in our distribution system can snowball.
“But this program offers a wide range of opportunities for people who want to take advantage of it,” he continued. “The industry is working to increase professionalism and to make the job more attractive in terms of income and scheduling. The Ivy Tech program offers an accredited way to get prepared for jobs that are waiting at local companies like Syndicate Sales and Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Kokomo. All are in urgent need of drivers.”