DUBLIN — Bladen Community College may soon have a new instructional program for drivers, but first, funding needs to come through.
“We get calls every day from people wanting truck driver training or from employers saying they need it for their employees, and there’s an expansion at Smithfield right now that will drive up the need even more,” Bladen Community College Vice President for Continuing Education Sondra Guyton said. “Without adequate space to do the training, our hands have been tied.”
That may soon change. Having been gifted recently with 109 acres behind the old prison near White Lake, Bladen County began a partnership with Bladen Community College to eventually develop the land into a driver training course for emergency personnel. The space also means Bladen Community College stands poised to implement the often-requested training program.
“We’re thinking regular 18-wheelers, and that’s the large scale, but there are also all the other CDL licenses that are underneath that, like those for driving a church bus or any kind of public transportation,” Guyton explained.
According to the educator, the goal is to acquire four or five 18-wheelers that would be available to students enrolling in the driver training courses. Purchases on that scale, however, would require outside help.
“We will be looking at grant opportunities or private donations,” commented Guyton. “Most schools have a trucking company, or maybe someone retiring, who is willing to donate vehicles. We’ll be looking at private sector donations and grants to provide the trucks, as well as the rest of the startup.”
Prior to even that step, however, is clearing the donated land and preparing it for the program by laying asphalt courses.
“Everything is in the first steps,” Guyton said, “but this will bring much-needed training to Bladen County. We’re very excited about it.”
The driver training program, as well as the facility, is a joint effort of Bladen County and Bladen Community College.
Anyone willing to donate toward the program or to the costs associated with clearing the land and laying the asphalt tracks may contact Bladen Community College or Bladen County administration.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.