By Associated Press - Sunday, October 19, 2014

SALINA, Kan. (AP) - The Salina Area Technical College has been working with employers to start a professional trucking school to meet a growing demand for drivers.

During a meeting last week, vice president of instruction Pedro Leite said the technical school was looking for seed money, The Salina Journal (https://bit.ly/1xZmIbf ) reports.

“If I find $30,000, the program is off and running tomorrow morning,” Leite said.

Many of the 30 people who attended the meeting were needy employers who were invited by the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce and were willing to help.

Fort Scott Community College in southeast Kansas offers the only truck driving school in Kansas that’s affiliated with the Board of Regents.



Salina Tech will be the second, and much of the necessary equipment has been donated by local industry players. Great Plains Trucking and Apac-Kansas Shears Division have each supplied a truck. Apac and Schwan’s Global Supply added trailers.

Brett Weis, president of Great Plains Trucking, said the driver shortage is “most definitely industrywide.” Great Plains drivers will make from $50,000 to $75,000 a year with health insurance and retirement benefits, and vacation.

“There are lots of job opportunities,” Weis said, including diesel mechanics, dispatching and truck washing.

The next steps include forming an advisory board to review curriculum and learning outcomes, entrance requirements and map out a review plan.

Leite included a budget with $116,400 in essential costs. The first class would need a minimum of 10 students, and not more than 20, who would go through five weeks of “super intensive” training, Leite said, including hazardous materials training.

Four courses would be taught a year, qualifying up to a maximum of 80 drivers.

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Information from: The Salina (Kan.) Journal, https://www.salina.com

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