JPMorgan Chase grant drives CPCC truck program


Nov. 19. Even with high-tech, finance and social media dominating business headlines, trucks still move just about everything there is to move. Indeed, Central Piedmont Community College is launching a truck driver certificate program in January thanks to a $180,000 grant from JPMorgan Chase.

Naturally, the program at CPCC’s Huntersville campus includes a high-tech truck-driving simulator.

Workforce studies indicate a critical shortage of truck drivers in the Charlotte region, with more than 2,600 driver openings. The American Trucking Association points to a nationwide truck driver shortage of 48,000. Starting salaries for truckers are around $34,000, and the average annual salary in the Charlotte region is $55,000.

CPCC anticipates opening the 16-week program with 15 students in January, another 15 in summer 2016, followed by another 15 during the fall semester for an annual enrollment of 45 students. The program will prepare individuals for entry-level positions as local or long-distance drivers of commercial motor vehicles, tractor-trailers, heavy trucks, dump trucks and tankers.

“This program will provide students with an affordable, expedient path to a meaningful career, with good earning potential, and will serve as a reliable source of trained truck drivers for the region’s transportation sector,” said Craig May, market leader for JPMorgan Chase and head of Commercial Banking for Chase in the Carolinas.

The state-of-the-art truck-driving simulator will give students an authentic dashboard representation with actual gauges and other instrumentation. Providing a realistic driving experience before taking students on the road will be an important aspect of the program.

“The college views this new truck driving program as being critical to the region’s economic development and our efforts to become a global hub of commerce,” explained Richard Zollinger, CPCC vice president. “With the opening of the intermodal rail yard at Charlotte Douglas International Airport and the region’s efforts to recruit more advanced manufacturing operations, the already high demand for truck drivers will only increase in the coming years.”

CPCC announced plans for the program and the Chase grant today at the 2015 Workforce Development Summit, held at the college’s Harris Conference Center and hosted by the Charlotte Regional Collaborative for a Global Economy.


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