SALISBURY, MD. — With an ongoing shortage of truck drivers around the United States, Perdue Farms announced a plan to help find more workers for the near future in its local community. 

The poultry processor’s charitable giving arm, the Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, pledged $120,000 to fund a new simulation lab for students in the commercial driver’s license (CDL) course at Wor-Wic Community College near Salisbury, Md.

The lab, which is set to be completed in 2023, will allow students to experience the controls and feel of being in a tractor-trailer for commercial use under all kinds of weather and road conditions.

The CDL simulation lab builds on the success of Wor-Wic’s current simulator, which is housed in a mobile classroom. It recreates the visuals and sensation of driving an 18-wheeler, with variable weather, terrain and the variety of transmissions used in commercial trucks.

“At Perdue, we employ just under 400 commercial truck drivers to deliver our products to our customers and consumers,” said Rich Hernandez, vice president of transportation and warehousing for Perdue Farms. “We’re always looking for experienced drivers to join our fleet. Programs like this at Wor-Wic provide an excellence training ground for new drivers and are beneficial for our company as well.”

Wor-Wic offers CDL training programs that lead to both class A and class B licenses for commercial driving, and currently instructs 70 to 105 commercial drivers every year.

“Perdue’s pledge will make a difference to our students,” said Ray Hoy, president of Wor-Wic. “They have enhanced our ability to ensure that we are teaching on the latest state-of-the-art equipment and that we have the financial resources needed to maintain our CDL program, which in turn supports our local businesses in their transport needs.”

Perdue stated that the latest estimates from the American Trucking Association show that the US has a shortage of more than 80,000 truck drivers. The group said that about 72 percent of America’s freight transport moves by trucks.