PRATTVILLE — Business and industry representatives, lawmakers and educators collaborated Monday on best practices and training opportunities for Alabama’s robust trucking industry during the Alabama Community College System’s first statewide CDL/diesel professional development event.

More than 90 leaders representing the state’s trucking industry, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, Alabama Forestry Association, Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, Dunn Companies and Alabama’s community and technical colleges met at the Montgomery Marriott Prattville Hotel & Conference Center at Capitol Hill. Included in the sessions was training on current practices and future opportunities, disability accommodation, trucking equipment technology, and the ACCS Innovation Center’s Skills for Success program.

Mark Colson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Alabama Trucking Association, said trucking represents more than 125,000 jobs in Alabama, which is one of every 13 jobs in the state. He said careers such as professional drivers and diesel technicians are two of the most in-demand jobs and are essential for Alabama communities to thrive.

“Trucking provides 86% of all goods to Alabama communities and the drivers and techs are on the front lines doing this important work, and having strong partners like the Alabama Community College System and the local community colleges that supply training for these in-demand careers is critical,” he said.

“We are blessed in Alabama with so many diverse training opportunities.”

Truck driving is among the fastest growing programs in the ACCS. Alabama’s community and technical colleges have more than 20 truck driving programs, and nearly 10,000 residents have sought credentials within these programs in the last five years.

In addition to the truck driver programs established at the colleges, the ACCS partners with local and statewide businesses to train drivers through the free, customized CDL training program of the ACCS Innovation Center’s Skills for Success program.

“If we’re going to compete not only in our state but nationally and globally for the opportunities for transportation and logistics, we need to stay on the cutting edge of technology to make sure our students can come out of training as qualified individuals who receive the best opportunities available,” said Gary Weaver, ACCS Regional Workforce Director.

“We can’t do what we do without partnerships. They’re critical in everything that we do so that we can make sure that we’re all compliant and can share best practices.”