By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
An alliance of technical schools and Groendyke Transport has brought truck driving training to Enid and Fairview.
A truck driver training program operated by Sapulpa-based Central Tech is being expanded to Northwest Technology Center’s Fairview campus and Autry Technology Center.
CareerTech operates truck driver training programs at Central Technology Center in Drumright and Caddo Kiowa Technology Center in Fort Cobb. Groendyke Transport, Inc. joined the training efforts by assisting CareerTech to purchase trucks to expand training at Autry Technology Center and Northwest Technology Center.
“As one of our nation’s premier hazardous-materials carriers, Groendyke Transport welcomed the opportunity to assist Autry Technology Center and CareerTech in expanding the tank-truck driver training program,” said Greg Hodgen, president of Groendyke Transport. “Domestic energy production is critical to the well-being of our country, and Oklahoma and our nation need safe, qualified, highly-skilled personnel for the transportation of that production. We applaud Autry’s leadership in that effort. We look forward to graduates of the program becoming employed in this important and growing sector of the economy.”
Central Technology Center, home to the largest accredited professional truck driver institute in the state, is partnering with technology centers across the state to train workers in the areas where the demand is the greatest — western Oklahoma.
With the oil and gas industries booming, the demand for qualified truck drivers is increasing, yet fewer candidates are available to meet the demand.
“I know one oilfield company who is looking for over 500 drivers right now,” said Dan Case, executive director of the Oklahoma Trucking Association. “The U.S. needs about 200,000 more full-time drivers this year — the trucking industry is overwhelmed.”
“We have already trained 65 drivers,” said Charlotte Hadwiger, business and industry service director for Northwest Technology Center in Alva. “The starting salaries for these individuals are between $40,000 per year to $90,000 per year. The companies that we work with are thrilled with our students.”
“Classes like Central Tech’s Truck Driver Training are popular for adults looking to learn a new trade and start a new career,” said Melissa Jenlink, director of communications and marketing for Autry. “The short time frame of 23 training days, with more than 50 hours of driving time, enables students to get to work quickly.”
“To become a professional driver, it’s absolutely necessary to go through formal training to get the basics, learn the industry, equipment, rules and regulations of the trucking industry,” said Robert McClanahan, director of transportation and safety education at Central Tech.
Graduates of Central Tech’s truck driver training program have a 98 percent placement rate.
For more information about area truck driver training classes, contact Travis Perrin at (580) 242-2750 or tper email@example.com.