W Werts Welding and Tank Service Inc. of Wood River, Ill., is enhancing Lewis and Clark Community College’s (LCCC) Truck Driver Training program through the recent donation of a tank trailer.
LCCC has campuses across Illinois, including in Godfrey.
“The trailer extends the capabilities of our current program to provide unique training and experience in a trucking segment that requires specialized skills in hauling liquid materials,’’ said Harry Nelson, coordinator of LCCC’s truck driver training program.
The 1989 Heil 9,200-gallon tank trailer was once a Casey’s General Store tank truck with four compartments to transport gasoline and diesel, said Dwight Werts, president and chief executive of Werts Welding and a member of the LCCC board of trustees. It is valued at $18,000.
“Werts Welding and Tank Service is in constant communication with the trucking industry, which is facing a critical shortage of qualified professional drivers,’’ Werts said. “Werts Welding and Tank Services has always been a big supporter of this program. This donation is our way of assuring Lewis and Clark has the equipment needed to help the entire industry in our region.’’
LCCC’s Truck Driver Training Program
LCCC’s truck driver training program prepares individuals with little or no commercial driving experience for a career in tractor-trailer driving.
“The program has a perfect track record of students earning passing scores on their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) tests and a great reputation among trucking employers,’’ said Dr. Linda Chapman, vice president of academic affairs. “This impressive tank trailer contribution will contribute to the students’ learning and their confidence as it gets incorporated into the instructional program.’’
Students receive classroom instruction about Department of Transportation regulations and CDL requirements to enable them to obtain their CDL learner’s permit. Additional classroom instruction, in conjunction with behind-the-wheel driving experience, provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to take the Illinois Secretary of State-administered CDL Class A road test.
Graduates who successfully pass this test receive their CDL and are qualified to obtain employment in the transportation industry as an entry-level truck driver.“The donation of the tank trailer will better prepare our students for careers in this competitive field,’’ said Sue Czerwinski, dean of career programs. “We appreciate Werts Welding and its contribution tremendously.’’
Truck Driver Demand
Truck drivers are in high demand. There is a shortage of about 35,000 to 40,000 drivers, according to the American Trucking Association. With the average age of truck drivers between 49 and 52, that problem may get worse in coming years, according to the National Transportation Institute.
“If anyone has any interest in developing a career as a professional truck driver, Lewis and Clark’s program sets a new standard with simulators and a full program of study focused on safety, technology and state-of-the-art equipment,” said Dale Chapman, LCCC’s president.
Werts Welding is an internationally known tank-trailer parts and service company specializing in petroleum, pneumatic, chemical and vacuum tank trailers, as well as a complete line of tank-trailer parts and equipment. Founded 60 years ago, the family owned corporation employs more than 80 workers. Further information is available at www.wertswelding.com.
(This article originally ran in the Illinois Business Journal.)