Marion Technical College, Southern State Community College (SSCC) and Marion Industrial Center are coming together to offer a new truck driving academy. Interested students can sign up for the four-week classes, which starts Aug.15. Completing the training academy qualifies them to take the test for a commercial driver’s license, or CDL.

“We are pleased to announce that Marion is the newest location for Southern State’s Truck Driving Academy,” said John Joy, SSCC Dean of Workforce Development and Community Service. “This partnership agreement arranged with Marion Technical College and Ted Graham will be benefit to all those who are interested in pursuing truck driving as a viable and financially rewarding career option.”

According to CareerCoach, openings for tractor-trailer drivers is expected to rise by 12 percent over the next decade. The average pay is $40,000 per year.

“With the economic downturn I saw lots of jobs going away, and I knew I wanted job security,” said Teddy Hill, a recent graduate of the truck driving academy (TDA). “When I researched I found that truck driving is a very secure industry. I had always been interested in driving, so I enrolled at the Truck Driving Academy. I had a great experience with the training program. The program and instruction are very thorough, and I had a job even before I graduated. The TDA gave me everything I needed to be prepared for this industry. I am now finished with my initial company training and beginning my new career. I would recommend the TDA to anyone considering this field.”

All of the coursework for the program will be offered by Southern State TDA instructors on the Marion Industrial Center. The four week class is offered during daytime hours Monday through Friday and includes 160 hours of hands-on instruction. New sections will begin every month.

“This is an example of how Marion Technical College is working to meet the needs of local workers and employers,” said Dr. Ryan McCall, president of MTC. “By partnering with SSCC and Ted Graham, we can bring new training and opportunities to help Marion’s economy.”

The administrator for Workforce Development at Ohio Means Jobs – Marion County, Ron Meade, agrees.

“It’s wonderful to have a training center right here in Marion. Previously, we had to send job seekers to Columbus for training,” Meade stated. “This will open doors for more Marion residents to get the training they need to start a new career and support the businesses in the Marion area. Currently, there are 168 truck driving opportunities within ten miles of Marion. Those opportunities more than double when extended to 20 miles of Marion.”

Graduates of the Truck Driving Academy say it was an investment in their future.

“I found out about the TDA through friends and local agencies after being downsized,” said TDA graduate Steven Spalding. “It was a good school experience, but I enjoyed the instructor most of all…very thorough and hands-on, in the class and on the road. You get plenty of practice time. Our class was lucky in that we caught on pretty fast, but I noticed that the school made sure that all students, regardless of how long they took, were given time to get everything right before they took their test. That was impressive. I’m receiving job offers now. I have found that it’s not a matter of whether you can get a job, it’s a matter of where you want to work.”

Another graduate agreed that the instructors helped students gain necessary skills and confidence as they gain real-world, on-the-road experience.

“I had never even driven a standard before, so when I got behind the wheel of those big trucks, I had a little trouble shifting,” said TDA graduate Marcus Burns. “It didn’t matter, my instructors were patient. They gave me tips and worked with me. I practiced, and I passed my CDL the first time. I noticed that they are willing to give everyone who needs it extra practice time. They have the experience to be able to give you the answers. These guys care about their students and want them to be successful.”

For more information or to apply to Southern State’s TDA, please call 1-800-628-7722, ext. 4560, email [email protected] or visit

Courtesy photo Ryan McCall, MTC President; Ted Graham, Marion Industries; John Joy, Southern State Community College; and Tami Galloway, MTC Job Development Coordinator. photo Ryan McCall, MTC President; Ted Graham, Marion Industries; John Joy, Southern State Community College; and Tami Galloway, MTC Job Development Coordinator.

Staff report