RSTC partnership establishes CDRA

Published 9:02 am Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Reid State Technical College and Billy Barnes Enterprises have established the first competency-based Commercial Driver Registered Apprenticeship (RA) program in the state.

Registered Apprenticeships are nationally recognized and proven training models that allow participants to “earn while they learn.”

Terry Kilpatrick, president of Billy Barnes Enterprises said in a release that his company is proud to launch the apprenticeship to help create an avenue for the next generation of workers.

“These professional drivers serve as the backbone of our economy, and a shortage in this field has unmatched ripple effects,” Kilpatrick said. “This program represents a model of success in meeting a massive workforce demand for commercial drivers.”

Billy Barnes Enterprises operates three divisions and provides quality transportation services throughout the Eastern and Southern United States

Apprenticeships are a proven approach for preparing workers for jobs while meeting the needs of businesses for a skilled workforce. Employers benefit from increased retention, productivity, safety and diversity, while apprentices are provided hands-on training at the job site for a career.

“The demand for commercial drivers will only continue to grow. Apprenticeships like this help provide a pathway for job seekers to stable, high quality career opportunities,” Josh Laney, director of the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship, said. “The creation of these meaningful training and employment opportunities, in partnership with champion employers like Billy Barnes Enterprises, is a benefit to the individual apprentices, the local economy, and Alabama as a whole.”

As the sponsor for this apprenticeship, Reid State is responsible for the administration and overall management of the program. This allows tremendous flexibility for local business and industry partners and great opportunity for their students to all be a part of a nationally recognized program.

“The student who graduates our program will keep our country moving and growing,” said David Cole, director of Workforce Development at Reid State Technical College. “Trucking is the dominant transportation source in Alabama and drives our state’s diverse and thriving economy.”

The new partnership has six students, including Chase Sawyer, Antonio Hall, Vyshaun Watson, Darious Booker, Christopher Benson and Ross Bebee participating in the Apprentice Signing Day in Monroeville on Sept. 29.

The Commercial Driver Registered Apprenticeship represents a concerted effort in building and developing viable talent pipelines and encouraging Alabama job seekers to enter these life-changing career pathways.