Arkansas didn’t have a public trucking academy – until today.
The Arkansas Trucking Academy (ArkTA) is a consortium of ASU Three Rivers, UA Cossatot, UA Rich Mountain, and UA Hope/Texarkana. The Academy’s launch was announced Wednesday (June 23) at ASU Three Rivers.
“This is another pace-setting workforce solution that has grown out of conversations between leaders in industry and education,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “Arkansas’s businesses had a problem, our educators stepped in to solve it, and we are able to support it with an Arkansas Regional Workforce grant. It’s a model for partnerships between the private sector and government. Because of that, we will soon 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 the use of virtual/simulation instruction, traditional classroom, and practical over-the-road instruction, students will receive 160 contact hours of non-credit training per course. Successful completion of the course will prepare students to test for their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).
A total of 20 courses will be offered annually. Slots are limited to four students per course. The maximum cost per student is $1,300, much less than the industry standard at private institutions.
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 systems to bring this program into fruition.
“Creating opportunities and growing Arkansas’ workforce is always a top priority in Arkansas community colleges,” added Wilson, who also serves as chair of the Arkansas Community Colleges association.
Shannon Newton, President of the Arkansas Trucking Association, expressed her strong support of ArkTA and emphasized the challenges the trucking industry in Arkansas is facing right now.
“For contextual awareness, in Arkansas the trucking industry supports one in ten jobs in the private sector in Arkansas. We rank number one in the country per capita employed in the trucking industry. So certainly as an advocate of the industry, it is my job to help people understand the role trucking plays in your everyday life but also help solve the challenges the industry is facing and the driver shortage is actually the number one challenge in the trucking industry right now.”
Newton said the average annual income for an Arkansas trucker is $45,000 and that with the launch of ArkTA, it will help lower some of the barriers that people face as they consider the trucking industry. Courses will begin August 2. For more information or to apply, visit ArkTruckingAcademy.com.