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Truck rig

A Barney Trucking rig pulls out after filling up with quicklime at Graymont’s Pilot Peak plant west of West Wendover.

LAS VEGAS – The Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development has partnered with Great Basin College to create a commercial driver’s license program in rural Nevada to help fill the mining industry’s need for professional truck drivers.

Students can apply for one of the 16 tuition-free seats today. Through the use of GOED’s Workforce Innovations for a New Nevada grants, the Elko-based college was able to restart its CDL program as area mining companies face a shortage of truck drivers.

“Nevada, like the rest of the country, is facing a shortage in long-haul truckers causing a bottleneck of raw materials needing to be processed,” Gov. Steve Sisolak said. “We have state programs in place to help answer the call from our mining industry to create a training program for Nevadans to learn a skill that employers need that will keep our economy growing.”

Great Basin College created a five-week training class that will prepare students to take the Nevada Commercial Driver’s License examination. The classes are limited to four students per session; however, the college expects to have four sessions within the first six months.

GOED provided nearly $370,000 in funding to get the program running, including the purchase of a tractor-trailer training vehicle.

“The goal of the WINN program is to help provide Nevada workers with skills that employers need,” said GOED Executive Director Paul Anderson. “GOED saw this partnership with Great Basin College as a way to not only train Nevadans but to also help ensure our mining economy isn’t hampered by a lack of drivers to haul the materials.”

The WINN grant program was created in 2015 by the Nevada Legislature to help develop a highly skilled and diverse workforce. Since the inception of the program, more than $8 million has been awarded to community colleges and universities to help equip Nevada workers with skills needed by employers. More than 1,000 Nevadans have received training through WINN-funded projects for employment opportunities. The average wage for open positions in rural Nevada for truck drivers is more than $60,000 a year.

“Great Basin College is proud to work with the mining industry and GOED to create a program that will not only help our students but also the state as a whole,” said Great Basin College President Joyce Helens. “We appreciate the assistance in getting the program running so our students can use their newly learned skills in the community.”

Several local companies are supporting the reinstatement of the CDL training program including Pilot Thomas Logistics, Savage, Barrick and Newmont North America.

The next CDL training session begins April 8 with the following one starting on May 20. Register for the program through the Great Basin College Continuing Education office. For more information or to enroll, call the GBC Continuing Education office at 775-753-2231 or 775-753-2202.

For more information about the Nevada GOED’s WINN grants, visit diversifynevada.com.

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