USA Truck Providing 15 CDL Training Scholarships

USA Truck Providing 15 CDL Training Scholarships

USA Truck Inc. of Van Buren will pay for 15 qualified applicants to complete a five-week commercial driver's license training program through a partnership of the University of Arkansas Global Campus, Northwest Technical Institute and Mid-America Truck Driving School, the UA announced Thursday.

The scholarships will cover the $3,700 enrollment fee for the CDL program, which offers day or evening classes, with six starting dates each year.

Recipients who complete the USA Truck Career Launch Program will be given preference for job openings with the publicly traded trucking firm.

A truck driver has the potential to earn about $35,000 in the first year, up to $50,000 after three years, and top-end owner-operators can earn as much as $60,000 a year, according to USA Truck.

"We are excited about this partnership and the opportunities it will provide," Steve Brantley, director of driver recruiting for USA Truck, said in a news release. "Not all successful career paths take a traditional route. Our industry is wide-ranging and diverse, and the transportation sector offers limitless possibilities."

Recent U.S. veterans are eligible for a $1,000 hiring bonus and may qualify for an upgraded pay package.

The program is another way the trucking and logistics industry is fighting a driver shortage. Last year, the industry was on track for a record-high shortage of 47,500 drivers, an increase of nearly 10,000 from the year before. The driver shortage has been a growing problem since the industry began to recover from the recession in 2011.

Scholarship seekers can request an application on the USA Truck Career Launch Program website or attend one of two information sessions:

  • 10:30-11:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 13, at Northwest Technical Institute, Room 137A in the administration building, 709 S. Old Missouri Road, Springdale
  • 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3, at the Jones Center, 922 E. Emma Ave., Springdale

The training program includes 200 hours of combined classroom and behind-the-wheel training.

"This program provides people with little or no truck-driving experience the opportunity to start a new career in an industry that is growing," said Heather Sprandel, a Global Campus affiliate. "The truck driving industry offers various career paths, excellent earning potential and outstanding benefits, so we are very appreciative of USA Truck’s commitment to educate the community about careers in trucking and to get new drivers behind the wheel."