Two students in the Commercial Truck Driving (CDL) program at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College are participating in the F.E.B. Distributing Truck Driver Apprenticeship program that began in October 2019. The two students –James Holland of Gulfport and Adam Graham of Long Beach– are scheduled to complete the program in eight to 10 weeks.
F.E.B. Distributing is the first company to place apprentices in the CDL Apprenticeship program. With its success, the college is hoping to expand the offering to more local companies.
“Apprenticeship programs are an excellent opportunity for companies to create loyal, satisfied employees,” said Gayle Brown, grants and special projects developer at MGCCC. “Additionally, participating companies are assured the programs use certified instructors and use curriculum approved by the Department of Labor Standards and the college’s accrediting board. Lastly, they gain top-skilled workers who they choose for the program based on the company’s preselected criteria.”
Brown said the programs benefit participants as well.
“Apprenticeship programs offer participants paid work and school experience at no cost to them,” Brown said. “Once they complete the program, they benefit from increased wages and opportunities.”
The CDL program, offered at MGCCC’s West Harrison County Center in Long Beach, includes 240 clock hours of training in operating diesel-powered vehicles, safety, maneuvering, handling cargo and keeping necessary records. Students are awarded eight hours of college credit and receive a certificate of completion in Commercial Truck Driving upon successful completion.
The apprenticeship program includes additional clock hours and company training, making it a one-year program. The two students selected were already employees of F.E.B. Distributing and were selected by the company to participate in the program.
For more information on establishing an apprenticeship program for a local company, contact Gayle Brown at (228) 897-4368. To find out more about MGCCC’s short-term CDL training program, contact Millie Hyatt-Bordelon, Work Ready director, at (228) 563-2250.