Elizabethtown Community and Technical College welcomed logistics employers and community members Friday to “The Road Ahead: CDL Training at ECTC.”
At the event showcasing the college’s training for commercial drivers, ECTC also announced the next phase of its Metallica Scholars program.
According to a news release, the Wherever I May Roam Truck Driving Academy, named for a Metallica song, is a part of ECTC’s collaboration with the Metallica Scholars Initiative. The event featured an unveiling of a new truck wrap.
“The Metallica Scholars Initiative has proven time and time again that they are fully committed to promoting and supporting technical education and training,” said Mike Hazzard, dean of Workforce Solutions and Technical Programs. “This year, the program expanded and now provides scholarships to CDL students, and Metallica has lent their name to help us grow awareness for this high-demand, lucrative career field.”
The Metallica Scholars Initiative, funded by Metallica’s All Within My Hands and led by the American Association of Community Colleges, has provided more than 100 scholarships to CDL and advanced manufacturing students at ECTC, the college said.
That support for the logistics industry is needed more than ever, according to ECTC President and CEO Dr. Juston Pate.
“We’ve all heard about issues with the supply chain and one element of that is the need for more expertly trained commercial drivers,” he said. “We’re very proud to build partnerships, especially with employers, and find opportunities to expand our CDL program.”
Attendees also learned about a new federal regulation for entry-level driver training. Beginning Feb. 7, commercial drivers must complete a registered training program before taking the CDL test. In the past, logistics employers were able to train their drivers in house.
“We were well aware of this new regulation and have taken steps to ensure we are fully prepared to work with employers as they implement this new procedure,” Hazzard said.
In addition to the Wherever I May Roam truck, the college also is in the process of acquiring a new training truck, set to arrive mid-December, which will more than double capacity for training CDL drivers.
The release states that ECTC’s CDL program is four weeks long, and offers learner’s permit and endorsement preparation; introduction to federal rules and regulations; instruction on vehicle inspections, log books and map reading; at least 120 hours of range experience — both day and night; and training on a 10-speed manual semi and 53-foot trailer.
Brent Vertrees, safety director and human resources manager with Nall’s Specialized Hauling, discussed the company’s experience sending employees to ECTC for CDL training.
“The industry has changed in the last few years, and this type of collaboration is the way forward,” he said. “We’re really happy to partner with ECTC and would like to keep that partnership going.”
The college provided information on funding options that may partially or fully cover the cost of CDL training, such as KCTCS TRAINS — a fund designated by the Kentucky General Assembly to help companies willing to invest in workforce development for their employees.
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship and apprenticeship programs are other options for employers and students.
“Our team will work with employers to provide the right training that ensures their drivers are trained quickly and safely,” Hazzard said. “We’re ready to help meet our region’s need for commercial drivers now and in the future.”