A career on the open road
WCTC to host trucking employment meet-and-greet

By Ashley Haynes - Freeman Staff

Oct. 6, 2017

A Waukesha County Technical College truck-driving student practices skills at the college’s training course.
Submitted photo

PEWAUKEE - When a majority of students consider studying for a technical career after college, it can often be in a well-known area like automotive technology or welding. These students likely aren't aware of an industry that is facing a major shortage and can gain them employment in minimal time. Across the country, the demand for truck drivers is at an all-time high, and Waukesha County Technical College hopes to make sure its students are aware of the opportunity.

"Just in the area, there can be anywhere between 5 and 10 job offers for a student in the program," said Mike Shiels, Dean of applied technologies at WCTC.

He explained that a few changes have led to the more than 300,000 open truck positions that are available country-wide. For one, recent federal regulations now limit how much a driver can travel at a time.  More than 80 percent of U.S. communities depend solely on trucks for delivery of their goods.

Shiels says that the common image people have of a truck driver is no longer accurate.

"So many people, when they think of a career in truck driving, they think of a life on the roads where they're only home for the weekends," said Shiels. "Things have changed a lot. Now, you can be home every afternoon."

Potential students and community members will have the change to see just how much things have changed at a meet-and-greet event. Attendees will have the chance to explore trucking employment, benefits within the industry, network directly with employers and sign up for classes.

WCTC's trucking program comes to a total 384 hours of experience. Students begin learning how to drive on a simulator, and then move to a controlled course.

"We can simulate driving in the rain and driving in the snow," said Shiels. "The students really have a comprehensive take in learning how to shift and drive."

WCTC has 20 tractors and trailers for the program. Shiels says it is important to make sure students learning to drive do so in a safe, controlled environment until they are confident enough to take a truck on the roads. Thinking about safety is one of the main characteristics that makes a successful truck driver.

"You have to be real safety-conscious to drive a big vehicle and confident enough to do so," said Shiels.

The college's truck driving classes offer certification in 10, 12 and 16-week formats. There are about 150-200 students who complete the course each year. The meet and greet event is scheduled for Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Service Building Gymnasium, 800 Main St., Pewaukee.

For more information on the truck driving program, visit www.wctc.edu/index.php.

Email: ahaynes@conleynet.com