A new grant for partners Hinds Community College and KLLM Transport Services in Richland will allow a 25 percent focus on recruiting and training female truck drivers. The $220,000 grant received by the Foundation for the Mid South to promote “Transportation, Distribution and Logistics” (TDL) will fund an extension of a current truck driving partnership between Hinds and KLLM.
The award from Jobs for the Future for the “Delivering the TDL Workforce” initiative grants can be used for tuition, outreach and training support. Its purpose is to increase access to middle-skill jobs for 300 people over the next two years, particularly traditionally underrepresented populations
“This grant will help Hinds find prospective students, especially without a high school diploma, who can benefit from the training and learn valuable skills so they can work in the transportation industry. It allows us to focus particularly, but not exclusively, on women,” said Dr. Chad Stocks, associate vice president for workforce training and associate dean for career and technical education.
The new grant will help provide for Hazmat training to deal with hazardous materials. It also provides Adult Basic Education for those who need it.
The Hinds-KLLM partnership has already had great success. Since fall 2012 when it began, 324 students have graduated and entered employment, which is a 73 percent success rate. Students in the program receive a scholarship covering tuition and commit to working for KLLM for at least one year.
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Kirk Blankenship, KLLM vice president of Driver Resources and Logistics, said there is a need for drivers in general but female drivers are an underrepresented population in particular.
“We’ve got a huge driver shortage over the next few years in the hundreds of thousands. Women historically haven’t been a high percentage in trucking. It’s just another area that needs to be reached out to by this industry,’ he said. “The grant will help with our advertising and filling that niche we have for women.”
Funded by a $3 million grant from the Walmart Foundation to JFF, the project will strengthen and expand training in 10 regions for careers in automotive repair and maintenance, commercial truck driving, logistics and warehouse management and others.
The grant is part of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s $100 million commitment over five years to support programs that help increase the economic mobility for entry level workers to advance their careers, in order to promote a stronger workforce.
Hinds Community College and KLLM Transport Services are the only Mississippi awardees out of the recipients. The others are located in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Iowa, North Carolina, New Jersey, California Washington and Florida.
The projects will connect underrepresented populations to the industry, with each site committing to serve at least 25 percent female participants.
Workers will earn industry-recognized credentials such as a Commercial Driver’s License and Global Logistics Associate certificate, and many will also earn college credits that lead toward Associate’s degrees in TDL.
“Jobs for the Future is excited to be a part of Walmart’s Opportunity Initiative, which is creating economic mobility for the U.S. workforce. Our work with 10 regional labor markets will help prepare workers for family-supporting jobs in the TDL sector,” said Maria Flynn, senior vice president at JFF. “These investments will promote diversity in the TDL workforce by designing recruitment and retention strategies to help more women move into these in-demand jobs that are critical to our nation’s infrastructure.”
As Mississippi’s largest community college, Hinds Community College is a comprehensive institution offering quality, affordable educational opportunities with more than 170 academic, career and technical programs. With six locations in central Mississippi, Hinds enrolled nearly 12,000 credit students in fall 2014. To learn more, visit www.hindscc.edu or call 1.800.HindsCC.