Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s West Harrison County Center in Long Beach has been named an official training provider by the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Beginning in February 2022, entry-level driver training through an approved provider will be required for all those who take the commercial driver’s license (CDL) skills or knowledge tests.
As an official training provider, MGCCC will be listed on the FMCSA Training Provider Registry. Once operational, the FMCSA Training Provider Registry will retain a record of which applicants for a CDL have completed the new training and certification process outlined in the Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) regulations. It will also provide a web system that will help CDL applicants connect with qualified training providers to get the training they need to safely operate commercial motor vehicles.
“We are excited about the opportunity to be an FMCSA official training provider,” said Millie Bordelon, dean of the West Harrison County Center. “MGCCC has always maintained high standards in its CDL training program to improve safety on our roads for our graduates as well as other drivers. Our listing as an official training provider further validates the outstanding job our instructors do in preparing our students for successful driving careers.”
Commercial truck drivers are in demand, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic began last year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said there has been a shortage of drivers for the past year, with the U.S. was already short 60,000 drivers in 2019. That number is anticipated to swell to 100,000 by 2023. Additionally, data showed that in the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic the truck transportation industry lost 6 percent of its pre-pandemic labor force of 1.52 million workers. While the industry has recovered some of those lost jobs, it is still short of pre-pandemic levels.
“A career in commercial truck driving has never been a better choice, with higher salaries and sign-on bonuses with many companies,” Bordelon said. “MGCCC’s program uses a combination of lectures, demonstrations, computer-based and simulator learning programs, and hours of on-the-road training with our qualified instructors. The program, offered in either morning and afternoon classes, prepares students for their CDL exams and to be successful commercial motor vehicle operators.”