LYNCHBURG, Va. – A new program at Central Virginia Community College is steering students into the workforce while helping to fill a shortage impacting people nationwide.
With a year left at Liberty University, Nick Buszko is on the job hunt.
By enrolling in CVCC’s CDL course, he went from student driver to skilled driver in a matter of four short weeks.
“I like having different skills to fall back on,” Buszko said. “With the current economy and demand for truck drivers, I thought it was probably a good thing to get into.”
Buszko is one of 55 students who’ve enrolled in the program.
The college recently partnered with Ancora, so that students can learn to drive on campus and in town.
“We have an aging workforce. One of the things you’re seeing across the country is you have a variety of age groups that are in this demographic, the majority are in that boomer generation,” said Scott Pleasants, coordinator for Business Partnerships at CVCC. “What we’re looking to do is train up a seasoned worker that can actually fill those needs so that as people age out of the workforce they can actually step up and head into the driver’s seat.”
Pleasants added that CVCC is looking for partnerships with Walmart, Foster Fuels, and Watts Petroleum to set up students with jobs.
The American Trucking Association said the nation is short about 80,000 drivers, an all-time high.
“I think what we’re realizing is a four-year degree is not the answer for everyone,” said Jason Ferguson, associate VP of Professional & Career Studies at CVCC. “Whether it’s CDL or any other of our career programs, it’s important to get people into those positions that are going to get them jobs, with little to no debt, and get them into the workforce to fill these positions with all of the shortages that we’re facing.”
Ferguson said drivers must be 18 years or older to take the course. He added that there are two-course options drivers can enroll in.
The full-time course runs for four weeks, Monday through Thursday. The part-time course runs for eight weeks on the weekends.
“I’m excited now to start going on longer road trips and do some driving,” said Buszko, who got his diploma Monday.
CVCC said most students can get their CDL for free. The Commonwealth covers two-thirds of tuition and other scholarships for those who complete the course like Buszko.