Keep on Truckin’

Laura Wilson with instructor

Laura Wilson with CDL instructor

There are over 3 million 18-wheelers registered in the United States, and the trucking industry is expected to grow by 21 percent over the next ten years. Consequently, there is a huge demand for qualified drivers. Blue Ridge Community College has been churning out quality students for more than two decades. The latest crop of graduates is a diverse group who chose the CDL program for myriad reasons.

“Without a doubt the best attribute to our program is the quality of the “product” (student) that we graduate,” says Bill Byrd, program director.  “We have multiple trucking companies that recruit from each of our classes, and without exception, the feedback … is very positive.”

In the 16-credit Enhanced Commercial Driving course, students Laura Wilson and Mahad Abdulle heeded the call of the open road and are eager to get started.

Representing the female population with pride and distinction, Laura, 48, believes that a life behind the wheel is just where she needs to be. “I would definitely encourage women that want to truck drive to do just that,” Laura says. “The industry continues to grow and women are growing with it!  Of her future, Laura says, “I want to work for a company…to gain some experience, and then purchase my own truck and become an owner operator.”

Mahad, a 36-year-old native of Somalia, operated a printing press and drove a mail truck previously. He enjoyed the spirit of teamwork with his classmates during the 5-week intensive training course.

“Working together and having good camaraderie is the seed of success,” he says. “I will recommend to anybody who is considering this class to make it their first choice, because you will learn all the knowledge of the trucking industry.”

Taking the 12-credit Commercial Driving course was a smart move for Scott Wilber and Richard Nelson because of plentiful job opportunities and career flexibility.

“The professionalism and integrity of the instruction and leadership at all levels is absolutely top notch,” says Scott, 50, who came to the CDL program after a number of years in journalism and as a stay-at-home father.

Richard, 72, is already driving for Camping World, delivering RVs to their purchase locations. The Class A CDL “will open up more avenues in a respected industry,” he notes. “I am looking forward to experiencing freedom, independence, and the ability to be compensated for hard work.”

BRCC offers several options for Class A and Class B licensing, as well as customized training and refresher courses for drivers. The next sessions begin September 8. To learn more, visit the Driving website.