GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Miller-Motte Technical College is shifting gears, so to speak. The Gulfport institution, known more for its business, medical and technology training, is now offering another career option--Truck driving.
Beginning in October, the campus will now offer commercial driver's license training.
When classes start October 7, there will be a new discipline: commercial driver's license training in its class A tractor trailer program.
The new four-week program will provide classroom training at its Highway 49 campus and road training at its Canal Road site. Campus director Randal Hayes says the trucking industry is growing and there are always jobs available. According to the American Trucking Association, there are about 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the United States.
"We see there is a definite need especially in this area for CDL drivers," Hayes said. "There's always a demand for these drivers."
Miller-Motte representatives said the reason why they started this was because of student demand. But they also think that there's room in the market for more training institutions in South Mississippi.
"We're national," Hayes said. "We're across the country. We're a big company, but we run our programs professionally, they get the best training. The best we can offer. And the placement office we have will help students find jobs after they graduate."
Emphasis will be on inspections, defensive driving, range maneuvers, motor safety regulations, trip planning and cargo handling. By design, each class has only four students with one instructor.
The training and coordinating are on Melanie Finson's shoulders. The veteran truck driver says people of all ages and all reasons for all levels of income enter the program.
"Pretty much any goals that someone has for a career for their life, you can find a doorway to that through truck driving," said Hayes.