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home : community : education April 14, 2021

2/28/2021 12:16:00 AM
College Program Makes Trucking Family Affair
Deborah and Danicqua Knox, Good and Cooper keep on truckin'
A family of professional truckers is waiting on a sister and daughter, Danicqua Knox, to join in the business after completing Gaston College’s trucker training program. Shown are family members: brother Stephen Good, mom Deborah Knox, student Danicqua Knox and brother Dontavious Cooper. Danicqua will be the fourth in their family graduated by the college’s truck-driver training program.
(Photo Courtesy Gaston College)

A family of professional truckers is
waiting on a sister and daughter,
Danicqua Knox, to join in the business
after completing Gaston College’s
trucker training program. Shown are
family members: brother Stephen Good,
mom Deborah Knox, student Danicqua
Knox and brother Dontavious Cooper.
Danicqua will be the fourth in their
family graduated by the college’s
truck-driver training program.

(Photo Courtesy Gaston College)


Lincoln Herald Staff
lh@lincolnherald.net


For Danicqua Knox, truck-driving is a family affair.

According to Gaston College spokeswoman Stephanie Michael Pickett, Knox’s mother and two brothers are all graduates of the school’s trucker training program, and Miss Knox herself will complete the program in March. Pickett explained that this local family’s members––mother Deborah Knox and her sons, Stephen Good, Jr. and Dontavious Cooper––are all on the road to rewarding careers as truckers. 

Mrs. Knox became interested in truck-driving as a career some 19 years ago. But circumstances prevented her from pursuing it until several years later. When the timing was right, she researched various driving schools and determined that Gaston College’s truck-driving program was her best fit. She entered the program in January of 2011 and was graduated that March.

“Graduation was the best day of my life,” she said. “In my opinion, the program instructors were the best any school could ever have.”

When Mrs. Knox started driving, she took turns bringing her children on the road with her. Her sons, both of whom worked in the warehouse industry, enjoyed the experience, and they decided to follow their mother’s career path. Cooper completed Gaston College’s program in 2013, and Good, two years later. Her mother, Easter Walker, also became a trucker after training at a different school. Mrs. Knox and her sons have worked for many different companies, driving different types of trucks and trailers and gaining experience.



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“They say that when you love what you do for a living, it stops being a job and becomes a lifestyle,” Mrs. Knox observed. “I have loved being in the trucking business.”

The state-imposed restrictions re the COVID-19 outbreak adversely affected the trucking industry last year. At one-point, Mrs. Knox and Cooper, who were working for the same company, were furloughed. A few weeks later, they were both hired by a trucking company that contracts with Amazon, and the company seems to be thriving.

“Everything has been good so far,” said Mrs. Knox, “so good that my other son, Steven, got a job here as well.”

And Miss Knox says she’s enjoying the college’s trucker training program. She has been riding with her mother on weekends to get some extra training. She looks forward to graduation and continuing what has become a family trucking tradition.

“I’d like to say ‘thank you’ to the school and instructors,” she said, “and to all the people that helped me and my family get started in our careers.”

The trucker training program at Gaston College, a collaborative program with Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, gives students the training required to operate tractor-trailer rigs, get a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and become professional truck-drivers. Graduates of the program will have the opportunity to be employed by commercial trucking companies, become owner-operators or take advantage of local jobs. The program is certified by the Professional Truck-Driving Institute, according to Donna Blake. The college’s co-ordinator of occupational and continuing education, Blake also recently commented.

“Gaston College has one of the best truck-driver training programs in the South,” she said. “We know this, because our students who obtained their CDL’s through our program spread the word to their families and friends about how excellent our program is, and these folks enroll in the program themselves. Students have great-paying jobs waiting for them when they’re graduated from this program. It is truly an honor to work with students who are going places and earning a great living after graduation from the Gaston College Truck-Driver Training Program.”

And more good news: Pickett noted that the outlook for the trucking industry is improving. A December article by Josh Fisher and Kevin Jones posted on the www.fleetowner.com Website quotes Don Ake, vice-president of commercial vehicles for FTP Transportation Intelligence.

“The thing to remember,” said Ake, “is that we do not expect the current (COVID-related) conditions to continue throughout 2021, because these are pandemic and pandemic-recovery issues that we see in the market. They are not normal.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job prospects are projected to be very good for heavy-duty and tractor-trailer truckers with the proper training and clean driving records. Overall employment of delivery truck-drivers and driver/sales workers is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations.

The college’s next trucker training class begins May 25, with a mandatory orientation session May 5. The class lasts eight and a half weeks and features classroom instruction and both range and road driving. The cost for tuition and fees is $1,876; well below the average cost for commercial truck-driving schools. A payment plan is available, and there are opportunities for GEER and SECU scholarships to partially defray tuition costs and fees. 

To learn more, contact Blake by telephone or e-mail respectively at (704) 922-2267 or blake.donna@gaston.edu.


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