ULLIN, IL – As the demand for safe truck drivers grows around the country, so is the truck driving program at Shawnee Community College. On Tuesday, May 24, 2022, at 9 a.m., officials from the College and the community will hold a ribbon-cutting and groundbreaking ceremony to expand the program, including CDL training, a new state-of-the-art simulator, classroom, and training range at the Metropolis Extension Center (5385 Industrial Park Dr, Metropolis, IL).
A new federal law requires entry-level drivers to complete training from an approved provider. Shawnee Community College has been designated as one of those training facilities. The project will allow more truck drivers to be safely and adequately trained. Courses will be offered in Metropolis and the main campus in Ullin.
“With the demand for drivers at an all-time high and the pay even higher, I can’t think of a better time to earn a CDL. The transportation industry is growing, and obtaining a CDL offers someone a chance to make a great living to provide them with stable employment for years to come,” said Shawnee Community College Truck Driving Coordinator Kelly Jennings.
This investment provides a clear example of how SCC supports our region’s economic development. According to most labor forecasts in our area, the need for Truck Drivers outpaces just about every other occupation. Additionally, more truck drivers will likely be needed to support Federal & State Port expansion efforts in Cairo.
There are about 3.5 million truck drivers in the United States today. The new law is one of the driving forces behind the need for more training for truck drivers. In 2021, 50,000 CDLs and learners permits were issued. That’s an increase of 20 percent compared to 2019.
The average salary for an over-the-road truck driver is $75,390 per year in the United States. The average truck driver-heavy salary in Illinois is $48,172, but the range is usually between $42,525 and $55,828.
“One of SCC’s primary focuses is to help our community residents find life-sustaining jobs within our five-county service area as soon as possible. I think this is one of the more life-changing programs the College offers,” said Shawnee Community College President Dr. Tim Taylor.
Jennings anticipates the new center to open to students in time for the fall 2022 semester, which starts in August. Training in the Shawnee Community College Truck Driving program is about eight weeks, with 40 to 50 students completing the program annually. With the new facility in Metropolis, those numbers are expected to increase.
“Our program receives calls from companies looking for safe qualified drivers every day. We are excited to be able to train even more students each class because of our expansion to the Metro Center and with the simulator, even safer drivers,” Jennings added.
To learn more about the truck driving program at Shawnee Community College, please visit the Truck Driving Program web page.