ENTERPRISE, AL (WSFA) - Enterprise State Community College announced it will offer a CDL Trucking License Program for students in the fall.
The school said it partnered with trucking companies in the region to create the curriculum for the 6-week training course. It will be offered 6-8 times per year.
"The first couple of weeks they'll be in a classroom. We'll have a track, they've got to be able to manipulate and perform 3 different backing and driving exercises," said Dean of Instruction Danny Long. "Before they get done with us they'll be on Highway 231 going up and down the highway."
Although a trucker could take home a six-figure salary, the industry is struggling to keep drivers behind the wheel.
"By the year 2024, there will be a shortage of 240,000 truck drivers. It's an alarming statistic," said Enterprise State Community College President Matt Rodgers.
Although the unique lifestyle that includes long days of travel is a deterrent for some – the school said job shortages could also be because of access.
"Our region doesn't have a truck driving school. That's why we're here today. We're not producing enough people to enter the workforce," said Long.
Long said although there are some private entities providing license training, the closest schools that offer the training are long drives to Evergreen or Montgomery.
With low numbers of job applicants, companies are forced to look elsewhere.
"Alabama is a huge market for us. But because we can't get enough out of Alabama, we're also hiring all over the United States," said Boyd Bros.Transportation Vice President Lori Furnell.
The school hopes the training provided will help keep employers hiring local.
"If there are 200 openings – those are 200 additional jobs that our area is going to fulfill," said Long.
And the economic impact of this program could go beyond just those getting hired.
"This could be the beginning of development in this region to fill a need not just for drivers – but drivers that support the various businesses across this region," said Alabama Community College System Chancellor Jimmy Baker.
"If you can't move products, you can't sell products," said Long.
Classes could start as early as September.