Tractor-trailers are parked at the rest area just south of the Monroe exit on southbound I-75 in Liberty Twp.

High demand for truck drivers leads Butler Tech to expand program

Career school will expand its CDL training program to Dayton.

MORE: Looking for a job? Truck drivers in high demand

Montgomery County on Monday approved a plan to let Butler Tech expand its truck driver training into Dayton.

Commercial drivers are the most wanted workers on the Ohio Jobs and Family Services online job site, which lists more than 3,400 jobs for the occupation in west Ohio.

“There’s a huge demand because of the confluence of (Interstates) 70 and 75, of transportation and logistics industry companies,” said Scott Palmer, executive director for adult education at Butler Tech.

The area is situated so that anyone moving goods can reach about 60 percent of the U.S. population within a day’s drive, said Michael Norton-Smith, a Montgomery County development specialist.

“This program will really be an asset for our existing companies,” Norton-Smith said.

Central State University’s (CSU) Dayton campus will provide the classroom space for the commercial driver’s license training, said Michael Beauchat, a Butler Tech spokesman. A parking area owned by the Foodbank Inc., south of Central State property will provide an area for students to practice driving big rigs, he said.

Palmer called the agreement “a big deal.”

There is “pent-up demand for CDL training in Montgomery County,” Palmer said. “Thanks to our good partners here in Montgomery County, we’re able to offer on-site CDL training in Dayton.”

Palmer said Butler Tech will be the only provider of CDL training with an attached driving practice area in Dayton.

“There’s a huge demand for the career,” Beauchat said. “Any career tech center in the state of Ohio, we’re really focusing on providing education for in-demand jobs.”

Trucking companies have long approached Butler Tech for drivers, Beauchat said. They attempt to recruit students before they even finish the training program.

“Our instructors say it’s almost to the point where the students are interviewing the companies, not the other way around,” Beauchat said.

Butler Tech’s CDL job placement rate for graduating students is “close to 100 percent if not 100 percent,” he added.

According to Department of Labor/American Trucking Associations data commissioners were shown, the 2015 median annual income for truck drivers was $40,000.

Once the preparations are made for the driving practice pad, Butler Tech plans a “soft rollout” for the program in late November to perhaps mid-December. Enrollment and advertising for the program would then start in the first quarter of 2017, Beauchat said.

The Butler Tech CDL program at the school’s Liberty Twp. campus launched in 2014. Palmer envisions the Montgomery County program having a capacity of 10 to 15 students.

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