Springfield, Ohio. 45505
Organization Contact Details
Springfield, Ohio. 45505
Clark State College
Vice President, Advancement
Clark State College
The need for Commercial Drivers License (CDL) drivers in the region is already high. Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers consistently ranks as one of the top ten in-demand jobs both nationally and in the state of Ohio. According to data from JobsEQ, within a 60 minute drive of Springfield there are currently 1,601 online job ads for Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers. The one-year forecasted demand is 4,122 drivers. However, JobsEQ is unable to account for businesses that just opened or are coming to the area in the near future. With Gabe’s opening its largest distribution center in Clark County, Intel building the largest microprocessor manufacturing plant in Central Ohio, Honda announcing a new electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant in Fayette County, and SEMCORP building a manufacturing plant for separator film for electric vehicle batteries in Shelby County, the region surrounding Clark State is expected to see a sharp increase in distribution activities. These massive facilities will drastically increase the need for CDL drivers for distribution, and the demand is expected to be much higher than the currently forecasted numbers. With the demand for CDL drivers already high, increasing the capacity for training drivers will be absolutely crucial to ensuring the success of these businesses that have chosen Ohio as the home of their plants and centers.
Clark State’s CDL program has been in operation for over 30 years. The program prepares workers for jobs in the commercial driving industry, with most graduates employed as Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers. The program averages 150 students annually, with 94% of those students completing the program and earning their CDL. Since its inception, the program has developed strong partnerships with local, regional, and national trucking companies that hire program graduates. Before students enroll in the course, they must undergo a basic background check, drug screening, and Department of Transportation physical examination. In addition, students are encouraged to obtain pre-hire letters from employers who plan to hire them upon completion of the program. The combination of these requirements ensure that students who enroll in the program have a very strong likelihood of success. Clark State is also a testing site, which makes it convenient for students to schedule and take their test. In addition to being good for the local economy overall, this program is good for individual students, too. Earning a CDL is a great short-term credential to help individuals quickly start earning middle class wages, with Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers in this region currently earning mean annual wages of $49,200.
One of the major issues that Clark State’s CDL program currently faces is a lack of a permanent, college-owned location. The space for the CDL program, including the driving range, is currently leased to the college. This makes it difficult to do necessary maintenance on the location, as that would require using college funds to repair property not owned by the college. Moving the program to a location owned by the college would mean that the space and range would be better maintained, without the risk of losing the maintenance investment.
The Agriculture programs will also be located in the proposed facility. Clark State offers associate degrees in Agricultural Business; Agricultural Business – Agricultural Engineering Technology Option; Horticulture Industry; Precision Agriculture; and Precision Agriculture – Technician Option, as well as a Precision Agriculture Short-Term Technical Certificate. Agriculture is an important industry in the region and state. Due to the needs for a space capable of holding large equipment, these programs are currently co-located with Clark State’ Manufacturing programs. However, due to increased demand in manufacturing and new types of manufacturing that have moved into the region, the Advanced Manufacturing Lab has had to expand with new equipment to ensure that all degrees and certificates are keeping up with shifting demands. This is creating space constraints for both Agriculture and Manufacturing. The proposed facility will be designed to hold large equipment as well, and moving the Agriculture programs to this facility will allow the programs to have more space while also freeing up space to allow the Manufacturing programs to continue meeting changing needs.
Finally, the proposed facility will also house Clark State’s Diesel Technology Program. Students in the Diesel Technology Program learn theory, design, operation, diagnosis, repair and service of diesel engines, power train and chassis, hydraulic systems, and fuel injection systems. To gain hands-on experience, the program also requires heavy equipment, which would be best housed in the proposed facility that will house heavy equipment for CDL and Agriculture. Co-locating with these programs will also allow Diesel Technology students to gain exposure to the real-life heavy and tractor-trailer trucks and diesel agriculture equipment used by the programs.
Within a 60 minute driving radius of Springfield, there are currently 337 online job ads posted for Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists, according to JobsEQ. The mean annual wages for this career in this region are $50,700, meaning that this associate degree path can lead to a family-sustaining, middle-class income. There is an anticipated demand of 425 workers in the next year. However, like CDL drivers, this number does not take into account the businesses moving into the area. As these new businesses bring an anticipated jump in distribution activities, the increased number of heavy trucks and tractor-trailers on the road in this region will also mean an increased need for well-trained diesel mechanics to maintain them.
Overall, this new facility will increase Clark State’s capacity to train students in programs that are crucial to the supply chain of the region, state, and nation, especially as new manufacturing plants and distribution centers move into the region. Without this facility, the demand will continue to far outpace the output of trained workers in these areas.