New program seeks to draw high school students into the trucking industry

A California high school is trying to tempt teen drivers to enter the trucking industry through their new truck driving school program.

Dave Dein approached Patterson High School Superintendent Dr. Philip Alfano with the idea two years ago in response to the plethora of distribution centers surrounding Patterson, California. Shortly thereafter, the “Supply Chain and Logistics Management Program” became one of the first high school truck driving programs in the nation.

Dein has been in the trucking industry since 1988. After eight years as an elementary school teacher, he founded a tuition-free, non-profit truck driving school ministry called Faith Logistics. He spent 10 summers training individuals recently released from prison, teaching them how to drive a truck and get a job.

Dein is now the CDL coordinator/instructor at Patterson High School.

There is some controversy over the hiring of younger truck drivers, who are not allowed to operate interstate until they reach 21 years of age. According to Fortune, drivers ages 18-20 are involved in 66 percent more fatal crashes than those above 21. However, Patterson’s program is based on the highest industry level standards set by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) as well as the FMCSA Entry Level Driver Training Standards that go into effect in 2020.

Through the program, students undergo 80 hours of classroom training and 100 hours of lab activities. The students get hands-on experience with pre-trip inspections, air brake tests, coupling/uncoupling, logbooks, and trip planning.

Dein hopes to use his viable, cost-effective program to give students a comprehensive look into an industry that is working to improve the safety efficiency of trucks.

The Faith Logistics College Scholarship Fund is available to the program’s graduates who desire to continue their education in a transportation-related field.