Covington, Ga. – It was a perfect spring morning on Wednesday, May 10 as Georgia Piedmont Technical College faculty and staff joined civic and community leaders to break ground on a truck driving range at the college’s campus off Bob Williams Parkway in Covington. The facility will be home to a driving range, pad, and trailers.
“Georgia Piedmont Technical College is here in response to our community’s demand for more truck drivers,” said GPTC President Dr. Tavarez Holston. “The logistics and transportation industries are booming and nowhere is that more evident than in the metro Atlanta area. We are perfectly positioned to help meet the demand.”
The president and CEO of the Newton County Chamber Debbie Harper focused on the important relationship between the college and businesses in Newton County.
“Whenever and wherever there’s a workforce need, Georgia Piedmont answers the call,” Harper said. “This project and the commitment to it are true game changers.”
Construction is expected to be completed this fall. Once it’s finished, it will be the area’s centerpiece for educating and training more than 200 students each year who are pursuing their commercial driver’s licenses. Georgia Piedmont Technical College offers truck-driving courses through its economic development and traditional credit areas. Successful completion of the course can get students on the road in just a few months.
Funding for the future driving range comes from the Georgia Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER II) aimed at rebuilding the economy and educational excellence following the COVID pandemic. Two million dollars was earmarked for the project.
Truck driving has often been referred to as a recession-proof career. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers in Georgia earn an average salary of more than $52,000 annually and employment of those individuals is projected to grow four percent over the next eight years.
In late summer or early fall, Georgia Piedmont will break ground on another truck driving-related project — a major overhaul and expansion of its Regional Transportation Training Center in the Stonecrest area of South DeKalb. Construction on that project is scheduled to begin in January of 2024 with the first group of students coming aboard in fall of that year.