Truck driving students getting help from county

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- Douglas County commissioners are dedicating a big chunk of change to help county students.

The county will donate $50,000, to go scholarships for students going through truck driving classes at Umpqua Community College.

Commissioner Susan Morgan says that truck driving is an up and coming industry in Douglas County, and that's why she felt it was important to support potential students.

Officials with the program say that driving truck is one of the few industries that's actually hiring. "In rural areas, there's not as many opportunities, so this is one area where it is a demand and it actually has family wage jobs," said Susan Buell, president of Umpqua Training and Employment.

The county's donation will go into a pot of grants and other donations that will be available to students.

Those applying for the scholarships will still have to pay a portion of their tuition.

Buell says the money will help about 50 students over the next 18 months.

Buell says that not everyone who graduates will get a job in Douglas County, but that is something she believes students will be able to eventually achieve. "Interestingly enough, many of them will have to take long haul truck driving jobs," she said. "But after a year or so, they're able to come back in our community and they have enough experience to compete for those other jobs that are here locally."