It comes as no surprise that Penny Flippo of Henrico, Virginia was willing to drive an hour-and-a-half to school every day for two months. She was studying to become a truck driver.
It was on the advice of her cousin, also a tractor-trailer driver, which led Flippo to Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) in Blackstone, Virginia. She knew of the high demand and vacancies for truck drivers in Virginia and saw an opportunity. She took a chance and left her retail job in 2014 to complete Class A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) training at SVCC.
“One day I just decided, I’m going to do it. Some people may think you are too old to start something new, but you aren’t. I did it.”
Flippo earned her CDL after completing the 8-week training program at SVCC, which included a DMV exam. She now works for Colony Construction in Powhatan, Virginia, driving a dump truck and hauling asphalt for road construction.
“I like to be outside and this is outside work. My personality clicks with that environment because everybody is outgoing. I like a challenge. People may say this is a man’s job, but a lot of women are doing it now.”
Flippo takes pride in breaking down gender stereotypes associated with truck driving.
“I hear people drive by all the time and ask, ‘Is that a lady?’ Some give me a thumbs up. I am always told that I don’t look like a regular truck driver.”
Flippo would recommend truck driving to others, especially women, looking to change their career.
“Trucks deliver everything. You will always need truck drivers and companies are always hiring. It’s not too late unless you’re dead.”
CDL training is available at Virginia’s Community Colleges across the state. New financial aid opportunities are available through the New Economy Workforce Industry Credential Grants program. To find out more about this and other short-term training opportunities, visit our Workforce Credentials Grant Program page.