KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A technical school in Knoxville which began by training students in the medical field has now added a truck driving program to help meet rising demand.

“Back in 2012 we started teaching certified nursing assistants for phlebotomy technicians, EKG technicians, and medical assistants,” said Compassionate Care Technical Center Founder Isaac Wachira said.

“After Covid, we had to diversify our training and that’s how we ended up adding the truck driving school.” 

Wachira is a registered nurse himself and said he saw a huge shift in the industry during the pandemic.

According to the American Trucking Associations, there are nearly 78,000 open truck driving positions currently across the country.

Bill Rice is the training manager at the center. The program is around 3 to 4 weeks, and they offer training on all different types of trucks.  

“I set up the curriculum here and I have a 4 to 1 instructor-to-student ratio,” Rick said. “We have no more than 8 students in a class and no more than 4 students to an instructor.” 

“We have three trucks, two automatics, one manual. We have two trailers and we do teach flatbed trailer. No other school in the state teaches flatbed.” 

Michael Houser has his CDL license but took some time off and needed training to get back on the road. “I was looking for someone who offered a local refresher course, and no one offered it until I found these guys,” he said, “So, it’s been a great experience.” 

The total cost for CDL training is close to $5,000. Currently, Compassionate Care Technical Center is offering a $1,000 discount.  

The center works with driving companies that will pay for the course if the driver commits to working with the company. 

They also work with nonprofit organizations like Knoxville Leadership Foundation and the American Job Center to help educate teenagers and adults to gain job skills needed to be able to secure a job, and not continue to depend on government assistance. 

Financing options and housing for those needing a little extra help are available.  

You can learn more about the program and how you can sign up by calling 865-394-9960 or you can text them at 865-805-5317. 

Wachira is also proud to be a minority business owner. He came to the United States from Kenya to gain his Nursing degree at Lincoln Memorial University.  

“I do understand from the perspective of the people who are not doing well,” he said. “I came to this country with $250 and the country has been good to me and quite a few other support groups.” 

Now he offers support through his company to those who need it.  

Compassionate Care Technical Center offers free CPR and First Aid training to foster families on top of the other programs they assist with.