February 12, 2003
Contact: Richard Clemente, Program Director
703/647-7015 or

ATA Voices Official Support of PTDI

Alexandria, Virginia - ATA adopts policy to support the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) and its objectives. Clifton Parker, TCA Chairman, and President of G & P Trucking, Gaston, South Carolina, applauds ATA's unanimous Board vote at ATA's Winter Meeting held in Washington, D.C. He further stated that having ATA's members support PTDI's objectives of developing minimum entry-level driver training standards established by the industry that the public could trust and respect; and ensuring the availability of a reliable and consistently-trained pool of entry-level drivers will enable PTDI to continue its mission.

With that in mind, The Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) is proud to announce that it has recently re-certified the truck driver training courses of 12 schools nationwide, from New Jersey to Idaho, and one in Canada.

The schools, which have undergone an intense assessment of their program and facilities to obtain the course certification, are 5th Wheel Training, New Liskeard, Ontario, Canada; Clearfield County Career & Technology Center Truck Driver Training, Clearfield, Penn.; Commercial Driver Training Inc., West Babylon, N.Y.; Delaware Technical & Community College, Jack F. Owens Campus, Georgetown, Del.; Isothermal Community College/SAGE Technical Services, Inc., Spindale, N.C.; Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Lebanon County Career School, Lebanon, Penn.; Mid Ohio Valley Truck Driver Training, Marietta, Ohio; SAGE Technical Services, Caldwell, Idaho; Schuylkill Technology Center, Pottsville, Penn; Smith & Solomon School of Tractor Trailer Driving (Cherry Hill), Cherry Hill, N.J.; South Central Career Center Truck Driver Training, West Plains, Mo.; and Vincennes University Tractor-Trailer Driver Training, Indianapolis, Ind.

"We have continued to seek [PTDI] certification because we are dedicated to it," says Louise Philbin, program director and owner of 5th Wheel Training Institute in Ontario. In the process, the standardization process has allowed the school to streamline its operations. "We have taken that PTDI model to our heavy equipment program," she says. "And whenever we set up another program, we use this model."

As an added bonus, Philbin says they have improved job satisfaction and reduced turnover by giving employees clear standards to follow every day.
"[The recertification process] is good for a program because it kinda holds your feet to the fire," says Don Bolinger, department chairman, Vincennes University Tractor-Trailer Driver Training. "It makes you accountable when the certification team comes in… and you have to verify what you've done."

In addition to the accountability, Bolinger says, "Certification gives us a lot more exposure. [PTDI] put us on their website, and we're linked to their website. We're the only school in the state that has certification," and Bolinger uses this fact as a recruiting tool.

With today's Internet access, students are easily able to research prospective schools and make decisions based on thorough information. As a result, they are checking out schools that have the PTDI course certification, according to Fred Bayley, Dean of Continuing Education at Isothermal Community College/SAGE Technical Services. Bayley agrees with Bolinger that, "because we have those [PTDI] standards, it gives us an added advantage in recruting and placing students. We are seeing more and more students recognizing that [PTDI means] we have a quality program. It's significant both to students coming into the program and as they go out of the program." Bayley says about 25 percent of their students are coming from out of state, including as far away as California and Alaska.

Philbin believes that the certification does make her school "stand apart from a lot of competitors." But she adds, "We still have to work at educating people about it." Once prospective drivers realize what the program entails, Philbin says they regard PTDI certification as a "definite plus.

"When they go to work, they feel they have confidence to do the job," she says. "What they tell us is, 'Was I ever well prepared compared to those other guys [coming out of other schools].'"

Bolinger agrees. "We still have to educate students about what the PTDI is all about," he says. "Normally what happens when we explain what PTDI is, [prospective students] are more willing to take the extra time to do the program."

Schools applying for PTDI program certification must undergo an onsite visit from a two-member evaluation team that examines the school's existing standards, procedures, and practices. A certification committee then reviews the results of the onsite visit and other supporting documents before certifying the program.

PTDI is a national, nonprofit organization established for the twofold purpose of developing uniform industry skill, curriculum, and certification standards for entry-level truck driver training and certifying motor carrier driver finishing programs and entry-level truck driver training courses at public and private schools for compliance with PTDI standards. PTDI is based in Alexandria, Virginia.

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