Leeward Community College is one of ten campuses of the University of Hawaiʻi. They are the state’s leader in training new truck drivers who wish to earn their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Finally, after much hard work from the staff, Leeward Community College is on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Training Provider Registry. This means the school is federally recognized to meet the new standards the FMCA implemented back on February 7th, of 2022. It’s a big step for the school and something they are very proud of. When people think truck driving, Hawaiʻi may not be the first thing to come to mind, but it is more crucial on the island than in many other states. With this overhaul of their training program, Leeward Community College can officially say they’re number one in Hawaiʻi.
Hawaiʻi drivers face many unique challenges that truckers in other states don’t ever have to worry about. The lack of loading docks and narrow roads makes it so that traditional freight containers cannot fit on the roads. Therefore, warehouses need to break down the loads into smaller sections before they can ship the cargo onto trucks. This means more trips and higher expenses. Road closures, lava flows, and cities built without trucking in mind are just some of the issues truck drivers see on the island.
Leeward Community College’s Training Program is Theory Based Training
The general consensus from instructors and drivers is that the new FMCSA regulations are a good thing. They promote safer drivers and a more educated workforce. However, Leeward Community College had a lot of work to do to bring their courses up to par. They could have simply introduced an increase in in-person training to the existing program. This would create a longer program, which in turn would result in higher tuition. Instead, they opted for a complete overhaul of the program.
Lead instructor, Mike Scully, spearheaded the endeavor to guarantee their program would meet the standards of the FMCSA. He created an online course that covers the 5 core mandated areas. The program focuses on theory and practical application. There are 30 modules of required learning. Before the overhaul, the program basically showed drivers how to get their CDL and how to drive safely. Now the program introduces drivers to every scenario and obstacle that a driver may face on the road.
The new curriculum covers things like: rights of the driver; the law; violation penalties; environmental issues; safe driving techniques; trucking skills; and a lot more. In total, the course is more robust than it has ever been before, and the new graduating class is ready for whatever job they may take.
Interested candidates can apply online through the University of Hawaiʻi’s online class portal. They also offer financial support for those who qualify.