March 15, 2019 3:45 a.m.
What started as a fundraising effort for a single big rig truck through the Umpqua Community College Foundation, has ended with an added bonus.
A release from UCC said thanks to generous community and industry support, the College is set to receive two new trucks for its truck driving program.
Truck driving is currently one of Oregon’s most difficult-to-fill-occupations. The highest number of vacancies, listed as 74%, are in southern Oregon according to the release. To meet the demands of the industry, it is estimated that 90,000 new drivers will need to be hired nationwide each year for the next decade. The College’s truck driving program, which is offered through Community and Workforce Training, currently trains 30-50 students a year which is a trend that has lasted for the past five years. Once students complete the four-week program, their job placement rate has ranged between 87% and 95% over the past three years.
In November, the UCC Foundation raised $46,000 for a truck through its annual Legacy Ball. While shopping for a vehicle, local community partner Andy Owens of A&M Trucking, reached out to Daimler Trucks North America. The company not only agreed to assist with the initial truck’s funding, it donated an additional truck valued at $80,000 from its corporate test fleet. Both are 2015 Cascadia models.
Robin VanWinkle, UCC’s Director of Community and Workforce Training, said the school is thrilled with the donation. She said the addition of an auto-shift to the school’s fleet, will help train future drivers using state-of-the-art equipment.
The release said the trucks are equipped with new safety features and the newer technology drivers are expected to use on the job. The first truck was delivered on February 21st, while the second one is scheduled to arrive later this month.