Driving school

Tell Heads of State to Support Funding for Phipps Bend TCAT Truck Driving School | Rogersville

I’ve been telling friends for months that if this job as editor of the Rogersville Review doesn’t work out, I’ll go to truck driving school.

I may be half-joking in saying this, but seriously, I considered truck driving school a viable back-up plan if I ever found myself out of a job.

It’s a really good salary and there’s a lot of demand for truck drivers right now. I am a good driver. Good reflexes. Excellent view. One thing that made me a good race car driver was the ability to see wreckage developing before it happened and avoid it. It might as well serve me well as a truck driver.

Unfortunately, plans for a new truck driving school at Phipps Bend TCAT (Tennessee College of Applied Science) recently suffered a setback when the trucking company that was going to partner with TCAT pulled out.

TCAT coordinator Charles Johnson told the Phipps Bend Joint Venture Committee on Wednesday that it’s not that the company doesn’t want to open a school in Phipps Bend.

Right now, the demand for truck drivers is so high that the company couldn’t spare drivers to come and teach classes, Johnson said.

But, when one door closes, sometimes another opens.

Johnson told the Committee that in December, a proposal was made to the Tennessee General Assembly and Governor Bill Lee’s office for funding that would allow the Phipps Bend TCAT to start its own truck driving school.

The request is for $500,000, which would cover the cost of equipment and an instructor.

Johnson said the fate of the program now rests in the hands of Tennessee lawmakers and whether or not they are willing to fund the program.

During Wednesday’s meeting, committee chairman Larry Elkins cited a recent news report that indicated there was a shortage of 80,000 truckers in the United States.

“We’ve spoken with Rep Hicks and he’s really on board with us on this project,” Elkins said. “He was saddened to learn that the trucking company was so short of drivers that they didn’t have enough to pull away from them to provide the school.”

I think $500,000 is a great investment to start training truck drivers in Hawkins County.

In addition to meeting a demand for labor that our country desperately needs right now, it would also create well-employed citizens earning good wages who will hopefully buy homes, groceries and cars in Hawkins County and will contribute to the tax base.

One thing I’ve noticed that really works in situations like this is the “squeaky wheel” technique. We need to call our legislators and contact Governor Lee’s office to ask them to support funding for the Phipps Bend TCAT Truck Driving School.

For Rep Gary Hicks (assuming you don’t see him at Walmart and don’t listen to him), you can call (615) 741-7480.

For Rep. Scotty Campbell, who will likely represent Mount Carmel and Allandale soon, you can call (615) 741-2050.

For House Speaker Cameron Sexton, you can call (615) 741-2343.

For State Senator Frank Niceley, you can call (615) 741-2061.

For Senator Jon Lundberg who will likely represent Hawkins County in the future, call (615) 741-5761.

For Lieutenant Governor and Senate Speaker Randy McNally, call (615) 741-6806

Below is the message I sent to Governor Lee, and if you want to copy and paste it when you send your own message, you are welcome. If nothing else, you may be helping an unemployed future editor find gainful employment.

Governor Lee, I am writing to ask you to support a $500,000 funding request that has been made to start a truck driving school at Phipps Bend Industrial Park TCAT (Tennessee College of Applied Technology) in Hawkins County. The trucking company that planned to partner with TCAT to start the school backed down due to driver shortages. Their instructors are all on the road. There is a massive shortage of truck drivers in the United States, which this school would help alleviate. Your help in this project would be greatly appreciated. Truly, (add your name).