LIBERAL, Kan. – Seward County Community College and National Carriers continue to strengthen its community partnership.
The strong support from National Carriers was evident with its donation of a tractor trailer truck to SCCC’s CDL program. The truck will be added to the college’s fleet and allow more students into the program.
While the addition helps increase the number of vehicles students can learn in, it also helps with the college’s grant for a new CDL facility.
Seward County Community College was awarded a $1.8 million grant to improve its facilities for its truck driving and diesel technology programs.
The funds will be used to build a truck driving facility and expand the diesel technology building. The college will receive $1,843,594 in funding and be required to match it on a one-to-one basis.
“(National Carriers President Jim Franck) was instrumental in working with us to get this set up,” said SCCC President Brad Bennett. “It’s a wonderful donation for our students and also for us and our grant, which counts as a match. It moves us down the road quite a bit.”
“(SCCC President Brad Bennett and the SCCC Board of Trustees) have accomplished a tremendous win for the trucking industry and Seward County,” Franck said. “This facility will allow them to train the next generation of drivers and technicians for good paying jobs with bright futures. National Carriers is proud to play a small part in helping this vision become a reality.”
Bennett also acknowledged the need for truck drivers and, with the continued support of community businesses like National Carriers, believed SCCC can help keep supplying the workforce.
“It’s helping each other out in the community and making sure we have those open lines of communication,” Bennett said. “The new CDL facility and the diesel tech program will be a huge benefit in an area that is putting more pressure on that industry. We want to be part of the solution and help train a better workforce.”
Ed Kentner, director of media, social media, National Carriers, praised the partnership with SCCC and the quality of the college’s CDL graduates.
“In the last six months, two of our last six drivers of the month were graduates of Seward County Community College,” Kentner said. “When you have over 650 drivers and SCCC has two of the last six, that’s very significant and one’s a male and one’s a female.”
Kentner agreed with Bennett on the shortage of truckers and believed SCCC will help in that area.
“There’s less people in the workforce and this gives us an opportunity to put more people through a quality school,” Kentner said.
The truck is also the first automatic vehicle in the SCCC CDL program. Most fleets are turning to automatic transmission, including National Carriers.
“This is the first automatic that our program has had,” said Michael McCarthy, SCCC’s lead truck driving instructor. It’s very important because we do get students that have a hard time shifting. Now we have another option. They can learn in an automatic and we never had that opportunity before, adding that, “Most of the over-the-road trucks are going to all automatic. They’re more fuel-efficient. This is big and huge for our program.”