MALVERN, Ark. — Arkansas is preparing to launch the state’s first public trucking academy, with driver training offered at four locations. The Arkansas Trucking Academy (ArkTA) is a consortium of Arkansas State University (ASU) Three Rivers, University of Arkansas (UA) Cossatot, UA Rich Mountain and UA Hope/Texarkana.
On Wednesday, June 23, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson spoke at an unveiling event at the ASU Three Rivers Campus in Malvern.
“(ArkTA) is another pace-setting workforce solution that has grown out of conversations between leaders in industry and education. Arkansas’s businesses had a problem, our educators stepped in to fill it, and we are able to support it with an Arkansas Regional Workforce grant,” he noted. It’s a model for partnerships between the private sector and government. Because of that, we soon will be putting more trucks on the road with first-rate drivers at the wheel.”
New classes will begin on the campuses located in Nashville, Mena, Malvern and Hope. Through a combination of virtual/simulation instruction, traditional classroom instruction and practical over-the-road experience, students will receive 160 contact hours of noncredit training per course. Students who successfully complete the course will be prepared to test for their CDL.
A total of 20 courses will be offered annually, five courses per college, and slots are limited to four students per course. The maximum cost per student is $1,300.
With the increased demand in the trucking industry, ArkTA co-chair and UA Rich Mountain Chancellor Phillip Wilson said he is grateful for the partnership across two university systems to bring the program to fruition.
“Creating opportunities and growing Arkansas’ workforce is always a top priority in Arkansas community colleges,” said Wilson, who also serves as chair of the Arkansas Community Colleges association.
Shannon Newton, President of the Arkansas Trucking Association, expressed strong support for ArkTA and emphasized the challenges the trucking industry in Arkansas is facing.
“In Arkansas, the trucking industry supports one in 10 jobs in the private sector in Arkansas. We rank No. 1 in the country per capita employed in the trucking industry,” Newton explained.
“So certainly, as an advocate of the industry, it is my job to help people understand the role trucking plays in your everyday life (and) also help solve the challenges the industry is facing,” she said. “The driver shortage is actually the No. 1 challenge in the trucking industry right now.”
The first course will begin Aug. 2, 2021. For more information or to apply, visit www.ArkTruckingAcademy.com.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.