|Teresa McCreery, JCJC's Director of Media & Public Relations
ELLISVILLE, Miss. For the second time in less than a year, the Laurel-based Poultry Corporation, Sanderson Farms has bestowed another gift to Jones County Junior College. A 2008 International Pro Star tractor trailer with Bright-Coop cages was delivered along with the title to college officials recently.
“We are very grateful to Sanderson Farms for being aware of the needs of the community. This partnership will provide quality training and great opportunities for our students to have a career at Sanderson Farms and the many other trucking companies in need of drivers,” said JCJC President, Dr. Jesse Smith.
Last spring, Sanderson Farms donated a 2002 International 9200 sleeper truck, a 1995 Clark Live Haul trailer, a 2003 International 9200 Feed tractor and a 2004 Ledwell Feed trailer to JCJC’s Commercial Truck Driving program. This year’s donation is valued at $26,800 but Sanderson Farms’ Corporate Fleet Manager Kevin Butler anticipates the donation will really be a profitable investment benefitting the college and the corporation.
“We would like to continue to hire quality drivers and we look forward to the future partnership as we grow and the JCJC Commercial Truck Driving program grows too,” said Butler.
Having the cages to practice loading and unloading will provide another component of training, not all programs can offer, added Butler.
“We want drivers to be able to bind the cages and have knowledge of hauling a live load, knowing how to avoid being top heavy and how the truck handles in different weather conditions. It’s a lot different hauling a full load as opposed to driving an empty truck,” said Butler.
Corporate officials emphasize the importance of the transportation industry in relation to the success of Sanderson Farms. Without trained quality truck drivers, business is interrupted.
“JCJC, Sanderson Farms and other trucking companies all benefit from donations like this that allow students to be better trained. Sanderson Farms’ support is much appreciated. It’s a win-win situation,” said Sandy Cochran, JCJC Dean of Career and Technology.
JCJC’s commercial truck driving class begins every seven weeks at the Ellisville campus, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. with students receiving comprehensive training and a certificate upon completion. Workforce development courses are also available the college’s Centers in Greene and Wayne Counties and are designed for non-traditional students. Non-credit workforce development courses are an opportunity for the working population to improve their skills and are typically offered in the evenings and on weekends.
“I see this big gift as a big benefit for JCJC because there is a big demand for good truck drivers with experience. Every one of our students has a job upon completion if they are willing to work,” said JCJC Commercial Truck Driving instructor Billy Miller. “If they pass, they get their Class ‘A’ CDL. They also get a Certificate from the truck driving program and a certificate from JCJC,” said Miller.