Tidewater Community College received a sixth federal grant to help train military veterans and their spouses for careers in trucking.
The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently awarded TCC a $66,555 grant, which will be administered by the college’s Center for Military and Veterans Education (CMVE).
“TCC is grateful for the Department of Transportation’s continued support,” said Batanya Gipson, interim director of the CMVE. “Now, more than ever, we understand how important truck drivers are to our communities. The ability to offer military members this grant-funded training is very rewarding.”
According to the American Trucking Association, the United States will be short 175,000 drivers by 2026. A lack of drivers continues to make goods more expensive and delays orders as freight rates are climbing.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average age of a commercial truck driver is 55 years old. A huge percentage of these drivers will retire over the next 10 years.
Thanks to the grant, Navy veteran Richard Sallin completed a Career Studies Certificate in Truck Driving in August 2019. Today, he drives the northeast corridor for Western Express, logging an average of 2,000 miles per week.
“I enjoy it,” he said. “I drive Monday through Friday, and I’m home every weekend.”
Sallin left TCC satisfied with the instruction and impressed with the reputation of TCC’s truck driving program. Coursework qualifies students to obtain their Class A CDL (commercial driver’s license) from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.
TCC is one of 16 educational institutions that received funds from the $2 million federal grant to help train veterans for jobs as commercial bus and truck drivers.
Since TCC received its first grant in 2015, 205 veterans and spouses have enrolled in the program.
Recipients of the grant pay nothing to complete the one-semester, 16-credit certificate. Classes are taught at the Center for Workforce Solutions on College Drive in northern Suffolk.
Contact Alesia Wroten, CMVE program coordinator, at email@example.com or 757-822-7714, for information on qualifying for the grant program.