Students who want to enroll in a truck driver training program will be able to pursue their goal and some may even receive a scholarship. According to Carteret County News-Times, Dr. Michelle and Chris Bass donated $10,500 to Carteret Community College to establish the Isaac Blaine Smith Commercial Driver’s License Scholarship Endowment in honor of Michelle’s late uncle who was a truck driver.
The director of workplace training at Carteret Community College, Rick McCormac, shared that this scholarship has opened life-changing opportunities for students, adding that a career in the trucking industry includes great pay and benefits. Recognizing the nation’s truck driver shortage, McCormac is proud to help remedy it by adding drivers to the industry. He shared that “the American Trucking Association has reported the trucking industry will need to hire roughly 1.1 million new drivers in the next decade, or about 110,000 drivers per year, to keep up with the current industry demand […] Graduates of Carteret Community College’s truck driver training program are in a unique position to help meet this need thanks to the high-quality training our college offers.”
Carteret Community College’s program for CDL license training began in 2016 and has been growing ever since with the help of generous people who have invested in the program. A partnership with Craven Community College in which they share costs and revenues has helped the program succeed, along with the financial support from Craven which provides the trucks and pays for the cost of fuel. Carteret Community College was able to start their own program thanks to Jason Wordsworth, president of PKS LLC, Ryder Trucks and Country Club of the Crystal Coast, who donated a tractor trailer to the college. The program proved to be so successful that the college even purchased a second used tractor trailer. The steady growth of the program is promising with 10 students graduating in 2019, 23 who graduated in 2020, and 43 students who graduated in 2021.
Graduates have successfully begun their careers working for companies including Britton, Schneider, Western Express, JR Schugal, McElroy, and TMC who have visited the college to recruit drivers. Some students have taken employment with more local positions including oil, manufacturing, and construction companies.
Generosity begins with compassion and a sentiment for helping others. For Dr. Michelle and Chris Bass, who were inspired by the wonderful career of Michelle’s uncle Isaac Blaine Smith who loved working as a truck driver forming lifelong friendships, it all came down to sharing his passion and inspiring a new generation of truck drivers. The trucking industry is a significant part of what keeps America’s heart beating, and these young adults who have chosen it as a career are truly appreciated by companies and consumers alike.