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Baker College announces new truck driving program in Zeeland | Business

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Baker College announces new truck driving program in Zeeland
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Baker College of Cadillac and Anthony Luurtsema Truck Lines (ALTL) will celebrate the grand opening of a truck driving training facility in Zeeland on Thursday, March 15, 2012. The new venture, called Baker College Trucking and Logistics, is a partnership between Baker College of Cadillac and ALTL, a provider of transportation and supply chain management services. The general public and the media are invited to the grand opening celebration from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m., 9548 Adams St., Zeeland. 

The agenda for the March 15 event is as follows:

  • 3:00 p.m. until 3:15 p.m. – Arrival
  • 3:15 p.m. until 3:30 p.m.– Welcome remarks by Ross Luurtsema, ALTL president; and Kelly Smith, Baker College of Cadillac president
  • 3:30 p.m. until 3:40 p.m. – Presentations to special donors by Tim Baker, Baker College of Cadillac director of transportation
  • 3:40 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. – Overview of the program by Mike Royston, Baker College Trucking and Logistics truck driving program coordinator  
  • 4 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. – Tours of the new facility, program informational handouts, truck rides, refreshments 

Partnership history and facts

The relationship between Baker College of Cadillac and ALTL began in 2010, when ALTL's Ross Luurtsema visited the Baker College of Cadillac Center for Transportation and Technology (CTT) with the goal of recruiting graduates from Baker's truck driving program. In 2011, ALTL donated a tractor/trailer to Baker College and was instrumental in setting up matching grants with several vendors who donated the paint job (M&K Truck Sales), chrome wheel covers (TraktrChrome), graphics (Premier Graphics) and a new engine (Valley Truck Parts) for the vehicle. In addition, Trailer Equipment, Inc., has sold CTT several trailers at below cost.

"Throughout the process of implementing the matching grants, Ross made frequent visits to Baker College," said Tim Baker, Baker College of Cadillac director of transportation. "He indicated that he was impressed with our truck driving program, wanted to become more involved, and suggested we begin working toward a mutually beneficial partnership. That's when the idea of a trucking program in the Zeeland area was born. Ross shares the same vision and commitment to quality training as we do, and the greater Grand Rapids/Holland/Zeeland area is a great market for such a program. This was a win-win situation for everyone."

ALTL, headquartered in Hudsonville, already owned a warehouse facility in Zeeland. This 200,000 square foot building, called the Holland Logistics Center, was identified as the future site of Baker College Trucking and Logistics. A second story was added to the facility to house offices and classrooms for the new program. 

Truck driving certificate program

The new Baker College truck driving certificate program in Zeeland will begin spring quarter on April 2, 2012. Initially, up to 24 students will be accepted into the program, which consists of two-quarters and 30-credit hours. Students beginning the program in April could complete the program by the end of August.

The program will prepare students to sit for the Michigan Commercial Driver Licensing Class A exam, as well as train them for entry-level positions as local or long-distance drivers of tractor-trailers, heavy trucks, dump trucks and tankers.

Curriculum for the new program includes classroom instruction, range and inspection training on the Holland Logistics Center property and over-the-road training utilizing ALTL equipment and driving instructors.

"This is truly a hands-on experience," said Baker. "In addition to individual practice driving times and a minimum of 30 hours of lab time that is primarily devoted to vehicle inspection training, our students will go through 58 hours of behind-the-wheel driving time both on the range and over-the-road. And, they will learn from individuals who drive a truck for a living." 

Baker College of Cadillac staff will conduct an orientation session for prospective students at the Holland Logistics Center on Wednesday, March 28. For more information about the orientation session or the new program, please call 616.879.0007. For information about the grand opening celebration, contact Tim Baker at tim.baker@baker.edu, or 231.876.3159.

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