VERNON (KFDX/KJTL) — Texoma will be putting a lot of people into the truck driving industry here very soon, helping with a nationwide driver shortage. That’s thanks to the addition of the truck driving program at Vernon College.

According to the Texas Workforce Commission, there will be nearly 30,000 openings for truck drivers in the coming years, and while it’s a fascinating career, it’s one constantly in need of new prospects. And, how do you get new prospects? You educate them. Which is exactly what Vernon College is hoping to do with its new truck driving program.

“The only reason we do things like this is because that’s our job, that’s our role is to meet the training needs of the community, and we think this is a big step in truck driving,” Vernon College President Dr. Dusty Johnston said.

A big step indeed. Johnston says the program is two years in the making. It’s a 160-hour course that will go over every aspect of truck driving and prepare students to test for their CDL Class A Commerical Drivers License, with the help of instructor Eric Miller, who is a truck driver himself.

“We have the truck and trailer outside so we’re gonna have a backup course and go out and do pre-trips and take them out on the road and get that all in. Plus, the three simulators so we will get double clutching and try to get some on-the-road simulation going,” Miller said.

Plus, it doesn’t even take that long. In just five short weeks you can be ready to take your CDL test.

“Getting students in here, people employers, trucking companies who say, ‘hey go to Vernon College and get your license and we’ll hire you,’ that’s what it’s going to take. We appreciate that,” Dr. Johnston said.

So if you’ve been thinking about a new career move, or just want to have a new stream of income, get behind the wheel.

“I used to work in an oil field and I got hurt a few times and I decided, hey, I needed a change, and why not go on the road, and it turned out to be one of the best things I’ve done in my life,” Miller said.

The first five-week course will start on October 31 and go through December 8, and there’s currently a waitlist for the program, but if everything goes smoothly, the hope is to get as many folks enrolled as possible.