Ellisville, MS – The gift that will keep on giving and growing was recently delivered to Jones County Junior College recently from Sanderson Farms. Two commercial tractor-trailers were donated to the college’s Commercial Truck Driving program with the hopes of increasing the number of professionally trained truck drivers entering the workforce.
“This gift will enable the college to provide quality trained potential employees for the transportation industry and in particular Sanderson Farms. We are honored that they have confidence in us and are fully committed to furthering the success of their company and other industries in our service areas,” said JCJC President, Dr. Jesse Smith. He also noted, “Sanderson Farms, its founders, board members and employees have long been benevolent partners with the college.”
The addition of two tractor-trailers from Sanderson Farms to JCJC’s Commercial Truck Driving program will ensure more drivers to fill the vast shortage. Sanderson Farms representatives donated the trucks recently to the college. Pictured left to right are: Brittany Ward, Sanderson Farms Marketing Coordinator; Jason Dedwylder, JCJC Dean of Career and Technology; Kim Bridges, JCJC Commercial Truck Driving Instructor; Candace Weaver, JCJC VP of Instructional Affairs & Institutional Effectiveness; Dr. Jesse Smith, JCJC President; Charlie Garretson, JCJC VP of Advancement & Foundation; Kevin Butler, Sanderson Farms Corporate Fleet Manager; Kenneth Walley, Sanderson Farms Corporate Fleet Coordinator; Terry Rayborn, Sanderson Farms Corporate Driver Trainer; Jack McKenzie, Sanderson Farms Corporate Fleet Manager and Daniel Forde, Sanderson Farms Beginning Trainee.
Sanderson’s gifts, which include a sleeper truck, live haul trailer, feed tractor and feed trailer, have a combined total of an estimated $25,000. Lampkin Butts, President and Chief Operating Officer for Sanderson Farms, said the company is committed to providing educational and professional opportunities to those within our local communities who are interested in acquiring new skills to further their careers.
“Commercial truck drivers compose an integral part of our company’s workforce and we hope this donation inspires future drivers to join our company after completing their education and training,” said Butts.
The transportation industry is a major component to the success of Sanderson Farms. Company officials said without good truck drivers, business is interrupted.
“Having skilled truck drivers is a necessity to our industry. Commercial drivers ensure that our flocks are safely transported and provided with the feed necessary to ensure proper health and growth,” according to Randy Pettus, Sanderson Farms’ Director of Production. “We hope that this donation will help to equip new drivers with the skills necessary to sustain not only a successful career in the commercial driving industry, but also a successful career with Sanderson Farms.”
Sanderson Farms’ Corporate Fleet Manager Kevin Butler also anticipated an influx in commercial drivers as a result of the donation.
“We wanted to partner with JCJC and the Commercial Truck Driving program so we could both benefit from having quality drivers. Sanderson Farms is looking for quality drivers to help us get past the driver shortage and hopefully this will lead to a long term relationship between our company and the college.”
JCJC’s Commercial Truck Driving instructor, Kim Bridges explained the demand for good truck drivers is overwhelming. He said he has had requests for female drivers, and he has noticed more veterans are taking advantage of the short training time.
“I see this as a big benefit for Jones because there is more demand than supply for good truck drivers. Every one of my students has a job, if they are willing to work,” said Bridges. “I feel the JCJC truck driving program has and will always continue to help with our economy, including the currently laid off individuals from the oil fields.”
Since the program’s launch in August, 2007, 151 students, including 25 women have passed and earned their Class CDL. Bridges said he has a 100 percent job placement rate. The JCJC Commercial Truck Driving program meets Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. for eight weeks. Students take a Skill Driving Test in their seventh week.
“If they pass, they get their Class ‘A’ CDL. They also get a Certificate from the truck driving program and a certificate from Jones,” said Bridges.
The next class will begin in May and is filling up fast said Bridges. For more information about the JCJC Commercial Truck Driving program call 601-477-5440 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos and story by Teresa McCreery, JCJC Media & Public Relations Director