SANFORD - Central Carolina Community College alumnus Christopher McKoy covers an area from California to Maine to Florida in the 18-wheel commercial vehicle he drives for the trucking company Western Express. McKoy loves the freedom of the open road and the feeling of being his own boss that a trucking career gives him. But it wouldn't have been possible without the training he received through the Manufacturing and Trades Continuing Education and Workforce Development program at CCCC, McKoy said.
After McKoy received his high school diploma from CCCC, he began trying to find his place in the job market. He worked for several companies before deciding to take some time to re-evaluate his career goals.
"My family came home from a vacation in Colorado and we sat down together to figure out how we really wanted our lives to go," McKoy said. "I had wanted to drive commercially for some time and decided to talk to CCCC about getting my commercial license. After I signed up for the program, I got more and more inspired about the job. Not only do I love the open road and the beautiful scenery, I Iike feeling the sense of accomplishment the job gives me. And there are other opportunities in trucking you can also take advantage of, like owning your own truck, becoming an independent contractor, and starting your own company," McKoy said.
Through CCCC's Workforce Development program in conjunction with a grant from the North Carolina Back-to-Work program, the college was able to partner with Carolina Trucking Academy in an initiative to satisfy the needs and requirements of the truck driving industry by training new drivers, said Steve Ogle, CCCC Workforce Development Director - Manufacturing & Trades. The course includes 50 hours of classroom instruction taught at the Lifelong Learning Center at the W.B. Wicker Center with the skills and behind-the-wheel training conducted at the CCCC Emergency Services Training Center.
"The trucking industry needs drivers faster than we can supply them," said Carolina Trucking Academy CEO Charlie Gray. "Currently, the industry is 200,000 drivers short. The opportunities afforded those interested in trucking are vast. People can enter the industry in a hundred different capacities. Chris had a sparkle in his eye and a desire for an opportunity. He was a very nice, attentive young man who was eager to enter a dynamic field. "
Ogle added that McKoy's story is a perfect example of how educational opportunity plus peer support make success in life possible. "Programs like Workforce Development help create pathways to put unemployed and underemployed individuals to work to obtain a better quality of life," Ogle said. "They also help employers retain or obtain higher skilled, dedicated employees allowing their companies to become more sustainable and improve their business competitiveness in the market place."
The next sessions of the CCCC Certified Drivers License program will be held May 17 through June 17 and July 12 through Aug. 12. To register or for more information, contact the CCCC Student Support Center at 919-718-7500.
For more information about CCCC's Manufacturing and Trades Continuing Education and Workforce Development program, visit the website at www.cccc.edu.