DRA grant drives new Truck Driver Training in Pinckneyville

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PINCKNEYVILLE, Ill. (Oct. 29, 2019) - The Delta Regional Authority awarded Rend Lake College a $193,880 grant to create a truck driver training program at the Murphy-Wall Pinckneyville Campus. It will enable RLC to train an additional 40 students each year to help meet the industry's increased demand for qualified drivers. 

In addition to earning a Class A CDL, students will be trained on pre-trip inspections of the truck and trailer utilizing a mobile alignment lab. The mobile lab will train new and seasoned mechanics for ASE certifications in heavy equipment alignment. The grant also works to identify employers for participation in DOL approved apprenticeships.

“This is an exciting opportunity to assist with the shortage of truck drivers by expanding training to our Pinckneyville campus,” said Lori Ragland, Vice President of Instruction and Student Affairs at RLC. "The US Department of Labor registered apprenticeship program provides an option for companies to mentor and invest in their employees.”

At its regular meeting in October, RLC's Board of Trustees approved a resolution to provide an additional $87,000 toward the project for a total investment of $280,880.

RLC will be responsible for the cost of instruction, classroom space, instructor training, marketing, training supplies, and coordination of the project. DRA funds will purchase a semi-truck, semi-trailer, mobile alignment lab, outdoor shelter and pave an existing gravel lot.

According to the grant proposal, the mobile lab will provide a hands-on skill set for local diesel and heavy equipment mechanics. On-site Local training reduces employee travel and time away from the job, as well as certifying local workers to keep heavy equipment repairs in the region.

"Aside from providing workforce development for a key sector within the region, this project will also result in opportunities for apprenticeships," added Greater Egypt’s Cary Minnis, who assisted RLC in preparing the grant proposal. “Both training opportunities improve the skills, competencies and employment opportunities for individuals and employers in the transportation industry, a high demand employment sector for Southern Illinois.” 

The Delta Regional Authority works to improve regional economic opportunity by helping to create jobs, build communities, and improve the lives of the 10 million people who reside in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state Delta region. The Delta Regional Authority fosters local and regional partnerships that address economic and social challenges to ultimately strengthen the Delta economy and the quality of life for Delta residents.

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