Workforce Proposal Nets Blue Ridge C.C. Top Honors
RICHMOND – Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC) will soon expand its Commercial Driver’s Licensing (CDL) program to meet the growing demand for truck drivers thanks to an award funded by Valley Proteins, Inc. and administered by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE).
The BRCC program currently teaches students a variety of challenging maneuvers including parallel parking, off-set parking, and blind side off-set parking. The $10,000 foundation grant will be used to pay for 19 hand-held radios that out-of-the-cab instructors can use to speak directly to students in “real time” while they are behind the wheel. A portion of the grant will also be used to market the CDL program to different populations in the Shenandoah Valley and to host a CDL open house at BRCC next spring.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment of tractor-trailer truck drivers is expected to grow 11 percent by 2022. In fact, some parts of the country are already experiencing an acute shortage of truck drivers.
“We are so appreciative of this Valley Proteins grant. The goal of our program is to provide the community and industry with the best-trained students possible. This generous grant will provide new training tools and help keep our students focused on that outcome,” observed Jim Butler, BRCC’s CDL program director.
BRCC employs two full-time instructors and nine adjunct instructors to teach its CDL training program. On average, 100 students per year obtain a CDL-Class A license and another five students obtain a CDL-Class B license. BRCC owns and maintains a fleet of nine tractor trailers.
The Valley Proteins Endowment Fund is awarded annually to support workforce development programs at Virginia’s Community Colleges in the areas of environmental science, commercial truck driving, heating and air conditioning, and office technology in regions where the company operates.
“Blue Ridge Community College works hard to position itself as a premier provider of workforce training that produces outstanding employees for in-demand jobs. This award will support a program that is meeting a critical need for highly qualified drivers with CDL certifications,” said Dr. John Downey, president of Blue Ridge Community College. “We are so grateful to Valley Proteins for their generosity and for their long-standing commitment to Virginia’s Community Colleges.”
Headquartered in Winchester, Valley Proteins, Inc. is committed to supporting the workforce, particularly in the areas in which it has a business presence. The 66-year-old firm operates plants in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Its processing facilities recycle food waste materials into usable products and bio fuels for feed and industrial applications.
This is the second time Blue Ridge Community College has earned the award. Previous recipients of the annual award include Eastern Shore Community College, John Tyler Community College, Paul D. Camp Community College, and Southside Virginia Community College.
Asst. Vice Chancellor Public Relations