Page 18 - Georgia Forestry - Spring 2020
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  Southeastern Technical College
There is an even greater demand for trained truck drivers in general. The American Truck Associations estimate that 160,000 driver positions will go unfilled between now and 2029.16
In order to fill the demand for log truck drivers in Georgia who meet the insur- ance companies’ requirements, more young people need to be trained on how to safely drive a truck and receive their CDL.
“If there weren’t any truck drivers, you wouldn’t have things you need on an everyday basis, like gas for your car, groceries or clothes,” said Ricky Strange, Commercial Truck Driving Instructor at Southeastern Technical College (STC). “Getting logs from the forest to the mills is another critical piece we rely on truck drivers for.”
Strange has been at STC since 2000, one year after the Commercial Truck
Driving certificate program started. Since then, the program has graduated approximately 2,600 truck drivers — five cohorts of 25 students, on average, every year. Students of all ages go through the program, as young as 18 and as old as 76, and from a diverse array of backgrounds.
Students start the 7 1⁄2 week program in the classroom — through day or night classes at either the Vidalia or Swainsboro campuses — to get their learner’s permit and pass their pre-trip inspection. Next, they learn six backing maneuvers and have to show that they can do them before moving on to the
third part of the program: road driving. Driving an 18-wheel tractor trailer is very different from driving a regular car or truck, so students practice merging onto and off of the Interstate for a week. Next, they practice on secondary roads and in city traffic — all skills they’ll need to pass the CDL road test.
“We’re very proud that we’re cur- rently at a 100-percent pass rate when
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