(Cushing, Okla.) Cushing Lions welcomed guest speaker Robert McClanahan to their Den last week to talk about Central Tech's truck driver training. McClanahan was invited by Lion of the Day, Fred Caudle.
McClanahan has served as director over the training facility for 20 years. He has seen the need for truck drivers decline and rise. Currently, the demand for trained truck drivers is extremely high - especially in the oil and gas industry.
"In Oklahoma right now, we are facing tremendous pressure needing truck drivers," McClanahan said. "In Oklahoma, RIGHT NOW, 700 truck drivers are needed."
Central Tech has been working hard to accommodate the industry by not only filling the classes in Drumright, but in taking the program to western Oklahoma. "The oil industry has asked for more to be trained," he said. "Last year, we didn't have enough students. Today we have a two-month waiting list."
The basic truck driving training is 4 1/2 weeks, 23 days, Monday through Friday at a very reasonable cost of $2500. However, that is expected to see an increase to $2800 in July, 2012.
"It is a tremendous opportunity," McClanahan said. "Entry-level truck drivers are being paid $18 to $25 an hour with a minimum of 60 hours a week."
And according to McClanahan, the demand has no end in sight. "As the economy improves, the pressure increases," he said. "In the United States, there is a shortage of 200,000 drivers already."
McClanahan said the median age in the program is 41 and that many of the students in are starting their second career. Most trucking companies require drivers to be at least 21 years old.
"We've trained them from age 21 to 74," he said.
One of the most interesting changes McClanahan has seen in federal requirements of the program is parallel parking. "Two years ago they started requiring us to teach how to parallel park," he laughed. "None of us knew how! We had to train ourselves so we could train the others."
Central Tech has a reputation in the United States as being on of the best and largest training centers. It is certified and accredited by the Professional Truck Driving Institute and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
For more information on Transportation and Safety Education at Central Tech, go to: www.tdt-ok.com