Originally posted on Hinds Community College Foundation.
One of the key partnerships goes back to 2012, when KLLM Transport Services was desperate for truck drivers. KLLM approached Hinds about a partnership that would benefit both parties. The KLLM Driving Academy in Richland opened in 2014.
KLLM constructed a building and supplies 11 trucks with trailers a year. The company provides students’ food and lodging for the three weeks it takes to complete the classroom component of the program and many other resources, including scholarships for students’ tuition.
“We would never be able to do a program of this magnitude without that industry leadership,” Creel said.
Kirk Blankenship, KLLM Vice President of Driver Resources, said the paperwork required to have their own driving school was enormous. He connected with the late Dr. Chad Stocks, who was Vice President of Workforce and Community Development. The two of them put together a plan that allowed the driving academy, including the courses and curriculum, to be accredited through Hinds. The college also provides a tutor to help students pass the written test to receive a permit that allows them to train in a truck.
“Our partnership is always striving to stay innovative. The Hinds workforce team has been partnering with the KLLM Driving Academy to implement Virtual Reality into the classroom for pre-trip inspection and offering a new Hazmat training course for their experienced drivers,” said Josh Bower, Dean of Agriculture and Transportation/Director of Talent, Workforce & Economic Development.
Last year, over 800 Hinds students earned a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) through the program and were hired to drive for KLLM, said Blankenship. The KLLM Driving Academy has produced over 6,000 truck drivers that received their CDL.
Due to the success of the original KLLM Driving Academy, the company has replicated this model in Burns Harbor, Ind., and Lancaster, Texas. The three KLLM Driving Academies have become one of the largest workforce training schools in their states and are making a positive impact on the United States economy and the local communities.