Alexandria, Virginia - The Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) has certified the first contract training course at a U.S. Army installation, broadening both the marketability of veterans and the pool of properly trained military drivers.
“The truck driver training program is ideally suited for a soldier transitioning out of the military, coming back from overseas, or retiring from the service,” said Harry Kowalchyk, president of National Tractor Trailer School, Liverpool, New York, which offers the PTDI-certified contract training course at Fort Drum, in upstate New York. “Many do not have strong, marketable skills that can help them easily transition into the private sector. Now, with PTDI, when they enter the civilian sector, they have completed a certified course that is nationally recognized by the trucking professional.”
Kowalchyk says “Soldiers are taking this course for upward mobility within the army. The army needs qualified drivers to transport goods and supplies to its installations throughout the world, and this program helps answer that need.”
“But, in addition, graduates of this program find themselves in a career that’s in high demand, with an average first year income of $40,000-$48,000, plus if qualified the benefits of a GI Bill® approved apprenticeship program that typically pays an average of $1,000 per month.”
Offering the only tractor trailer program with a PTDI-certified course on an army installation, Kowalchyk knows that the PTDI certification provides additional reassurances to employers as well as the army.
For Lakina Griffin, who, along with her husband, retired from the army and became part of a husband/wife truck driving team for H.O. Wolding, the Fort Drum program offered excellent preparation for their career transition. “The training was exceptional,” she said. “Now that I’m out there I see that we needed everything we learned and more.”
PTDI is a national, nonprofit organization established for the twofold purpose of developing uniform industry skill, curriculum, and certification standards for entry-level truck driver training and motor carrier driver finishing programs, and certifying entry-level truck driver training courses at public and private schools and driver finishing programs at carriers for compliance with PTDI standards. PTDI is based in Alexandria, Virginia.