MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- Merced College is taking action to provide a new career option for students.
Manny Conde is buckling up for a new career path.
"I always see trucks on the highway and I just thought why not give it a shot?" said Merced College student Manny Conde, "and it was offered here at Merced College."
The North Valley student is part of the school's new truck driver training program that kicked off this month. The 18-week program is free to students and provides both classroom instruction and behind-the-wheel training.
"I could actually go to any industry I want and travel," added Conde. "So maybe do construction, long hauling."
Twelve students are part of the college's first session, with classes taking place on Saturdays and Sundays.
"We know the demand for drivers is in the news a lot," said instructor David Thomas. "We're learning everything we need to know to pass the tests that are required."
By the end of the semester, students will have the tools they need to take their commercial drivers license test at the DMV, giving students like Manny the chance to hit the road right away.
"My goal is to go into the trucking industry and learn and maybe start a business in the future," said Conde, "because I feel like the demand is growing."
Staff say this is just the start. They hope to keep offering the program in future semesters. For more details on the program, you can call (209) 381-6540 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.