The trucking industry needs to hire 1.2 million new drivers over the next decade to meet increasing freight demands, according to the American Trucking Associations.

In Tucson, theres a push to train more truck drivers by breaking down a language barrier.

Pima Community Colleges Center for Transportation Training is now teaming up with the colleges Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (IBEST).

Starting this August, some commercial drivers license (CDL) classes will teach students how to drive trucks and


at the same time.

Students can earn a commercial drivers license at PCC after just five weeks in a classroom (or online), and four to seven weeks behind the wheel.

We know that there are thousands of students in Tucson who are language learners, but who really want to access this career training and become truck drivers, said Wendy Scheder Black, PCCs College & Career Transitions and Partnerships Director.

Scheder Black clarifies that not only includes Spanish speakers, but also members of Tucsons refugee community from all over the world.

A second instructor will focus on teaching students english, but the truck-driving curriculum is the same as any other class.

The two teachers, theyre already a team, said Scheder Black. And so the students will come into the classroom and its really one block of time. From the students perspective they dont see any difference They are actually developing their English language skills in the context of and inside the classroom of CDL.

And those English skills are just as necessary as the driving skills.

Their exam to get their license, theyll need to do that in English, Scheder Black explained. But theyll also need English on the job. Theyll need it to be able to communicate with other truck drivers in their communities. Theyll need to communicate if they have breakdowns.

The first cohort will host eight english learners, but PCC is also looking to fill future classes.

Its a lot of work and a lot of learning in a short amount of time, said Missy Blair, Advanced Program Manager with PCCs Center for Transportation Training. So its one of my best accomplishments Ive had, because now I can drive 80 feet of truck.

You look around your house and pretty much everything you have comes by truck. Weve all seen the ramifications when the supply chain has issues. And so truck drivers are a key part of that supply chain.

Those driver jobs can also lead to more opportunities in the transportation industry, down the road.