The CDL Truck Driving program at Northeast Alabama Community College (NACC) has recently been upgraded with new equipment. An L3 TranSim™ simulation-based training system for commercial truck driving was installed at the program’s facility in Scottsboro last week.
In addition to hands-on experience in the vehicle (tractor-trailer), the simulator will be used as a supplemental training tool for students. The modern, ergonomic design of the TranSim™ driving simulator replicates a commercial vehicle driving compartment, allowing students to gain experience without risks to people or equipment.
The purchase of the $91,200 CDL simulator was funded by a state workforce grant. Utilizing the simulation system coupled with behind-the-wheel range and highway time will help the college increase the capacity of the program.
“I applaud Dr. Kennamer and our staff for getting the workforce grant that purchased the simulator” stated Dr. David Campbell, NACC President. “Covid has created even a greater need for CDL truck drivers. This also is another avenue for jobs for our people.”
TranSim™ accurately simulates the vehicle’s physical and functional characteristics. It also adjusts to the size, weight, turning radius, tires, and suspension characteristics for each vehicle that it simulates. The simulator’s driving environments include suburban, urban, rural, freeway, mountain, skidpad, and even snow. The simulator also provides after-action feedback, allowing the instructor to correct students immediately.
“This technology will help the program to be more efficient and will increase the capacity of the program,” said Dr. Mike Kennamer, Dean of Workforce Development and Skills Training at NACC. “While this equipment will not reduce the behind-the-wheel time that each student will have, it will allow the instructors to safely place students in real-life emergency situations, such as tires blowing out or skidding, that could not safely be done on the road or range.”
A department of NACC’s Skills Training Division, the CDL Truck Driving Program prepares students to safely and effectively operate a tractor-trailer and pass the commercial driver's license (CDL) exam. Students complete the 160-hour program in just four weeks. Entry requirements for the program include a valid driver’s license, successfully passing a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical, successfully passing a chain-of-custody drug screening, presenting an acceptable Motor Vehicle Report (MVR). Students must also be at least 21 years of age to obtain a Class A CDL.
The CDL Truck Driving Program was created in 2019 when local industry officials presented the need for more CDL drivers in the area to Dr. David Campbell, NACC President. The program’s funding came through an Occupational
Skills Training grant. Additionally, Noble, LLC, donated a truck and two trailers to help jump-start the program. The program’s facility is located in the Goosepond Industrial Park and is rented from the City of Scottsboro’s Industrial Development Board.
Since the program’s beginning in 2019, 79 students have successfully completed the four-week training course. Currently, there is an average of 764 CDL job postings each month in DeKalb and Jackson Counties.
NACC CDL Instructor Chris Peek’s goal is to prepare those students for a career in the industry. “Many local and nationwide trucking companies send recruiters to our program,” said Peek. “I try and coordinate opportunities for those companies to come and speak to our students. I want them to know what’s available, whether they want to be on the road traveling to Washington state or if they’d prefer a to be home every night with a local job.”
Students interested in the CDL Truck Driving Program should contact Mrs. Julie George, Skills Training Coordinator at NACC, at 256-638-4418 or 256-228-6001, ext. 2214 or via email at email@example.com.