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KOTA-TV - Learn More about WDT's Professional Truck Driving Program

June 10, 2021
KOTA-TV
A semi-serious battle, Western Dakota Tech versus truck driver shortage

The United States is currently seeing a nationwide truck driver shortage. Western Dakota Tech offers a four to six-week program that teaches students what it takes to be a truck driver.


Jay Banick, the Trucking program Director at Western Tech, says students come from a range of backgrounds for the opportunity to fill the currently lacking long haul force



RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) -The United States is currently seeing a nationwide truck driver shortage. Western Dakota Tech offers a four to six-week program that teaches students what it takes to be a truck driver.

Jay Banick, the Trucking program Director at Western Tech, says students come from a range of backgrounds for the opportunity to fill the currently lacking long haul force

“They’re here to learn and get going on a new career. Whether they’re starting a career or just halfway through. They might have retired. Classes can range anywhere from 19 to 70 years old. It just fits everybody,” says Banick. “We work them into the driving portion. We do have a simulator in our program. That gets them started.”

The simulator is just like the real thing, and goes to show that practice makes perfect.

In the long run, students like Brian Coppes are eager and confident that all of the practice to pay off.

“So, I took some time to decide what I wanted to do in this stage of my life. One of the big things that I would encourage anybody to do at this point is go into the trades. It doesn’t matter if it’s electric, plumbing, whatever or construction,” says Coppes, “those people are making bank money, because for whatever reason there’s a shortage.”

The shortage is being filled by interested souls with a curiosity born in the open road. Instructors like Jay want to share that. He cruised the highways for more than 30 years, and even met his wife during a pitstop at a grocery store.

“I love being on my own,” says Banick, “and I became very good friends with everybody that I made deliveries to, and just the overall freedom of it.”

The big bucks are well earned by the worthy students of Western Dakota Tech.

Copyright 2021 KOTA. All rights reserved.

Western Dakota Technical College's next Professional Truck Driving Program classes start in August. For more information, go to https://www.wdt.edu/corporate-education-center/professional-truck-driving-program/ or call (605) 718-2410. 

About Western Dakota Tech

Western Dakota Tech was established in 1968 and is the only technical college serving the western South Dakota region.

Western Dakota Tech offers programs in a variety of fields, including Business and Computers, Construction and Manufacturing, Energy and Environmental Technologies, Health Sciences, Legal and Public Services, and Transportation Technologies.

Ninety-nine percent of Western Dakota Tech's most recent graduates are working, continuing their education, or are enlisted in the military. [Placement information is derived from graduate surveys, faculty-collected data, placement surveys started six months after graduation, and the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation. Overall placement rate is figured by: (responding graduates employed, continuing education, or in military service)/(responding graduates who are seeking employment). The number of program graduates are unduplicated by CIP code.]

Western Dakota Tech faculty, staff, and administration focus their efforts on helping students gain the skills and experiences they need to succeed. Through hands-on learning, internships, and industry partnerships, Western Dakota Tech students graduate ready to make a real and immediate contribution to their employers and to their communities.

For information about Western Dakota Tech, call (800) 544-8765 or (605) 718-2565 or send an email to Admissions@wdt.edu. Visit us on the web at wdt.edu.

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