Eight workers displaced from the Canton Paper Mill closing have taken the wheel into new careers, graduating from Haywood County Community College last month from Commercial Drivers License Training Classes. They are now qualified to take the CDL exam and are employable by commercial trucking firms or become owner-operators and work as private contract haulers.
Tuition was paid through the National Dislocated Worker Grant awarded last spring to the Southwestern Commission from the US Department of Labor. According to Indeed, truck drivers in the US can earn salaries averaging $92,000 per year.
The Southwestern Commission’s Executive Director Russ Harris says that the Dislocated Worker Grant is beneficial in two crucial ways. “It’s providing an opportunity to help those affected by the plant closing to start a new career and, at the same time, addressing some of the critical worker shortages we are experiencing across the region. In this instance, we are so fortunate to have a partner like Haywood Community College, whose leaders are dedicated to offering these training opportunities.”