Arkansas Black-Owned Trucking Academy Partners With HBCU To Recruit Students For Employment
The WorldLink Truck Driving Academy is the only Black woman-owned trucking institution in Arkansas. And now, owner Gladys Godley and her husband, Gary, are teaming up with a local HBCU in order to diversify the industry and provide employment opportunities to Black students.
In partnership with the Arkansas Baptist College Adult Education program, the Godleys intend to give students an alternative option to traditional career paths.
“I saw after their first year, a lot of them didn’t actually graduate, so we’re picking up that slack for those who thought they wanted to go to a four-year college or wanted to make that commitment,” said Gladys, a former high school teacher.
The most impressive aspect of the program is its affordability. “It’s about $5,000, which includes the actual tuition, the cost for the permit, the books — everything is included within that $5,000,” said Debra Baker, director at Arkansas Baptist College Adult Education.
An accessible road to a lucrative career is one of many selling points of the Godleys’ mission, one that has proved to have stellar results, as the WorldLink Truck Driving Academy boasts a 90 percent graduation rate. The Godleys hope to build on their success in their collaboration with Arkansas Baptist College.
“Now you can get your CDL [commercial driver’s license] and you can start making anywhere from $45- to $80,000 your first year,” Gary Godley said. The Arkansas Trucking Association reports more than 44,000 truck drivers are employed in the Bear State, with approximately 26 percent being non-white.
According to Education Data, first-time undergraduate college freshmen have a 25 percent dropout rate countrywide, with Arkansas’ dropout numbers being 124 percent higher than the number of undergraduate students in that state. Secondary education institutions across the country have started implementing career days for high school students choosing to bypass traditional higher education paths for trade schools and other alternatives to reduce the stigma associated with them.