Truck driving is one of the fastest growing industries nationally, and in New Mexico.

However, that’s also created a shortage of drivers.

A new training class at Central New Mexico Community College aims to help New Mexico’s economy.

It will only take students five weeks to get their Commercial Drivers License (CDL) in a new training class for truck driving.

They will train on freightliner trucks that weigh more than 26,000 pounds and pull a 52-foot trailer.

“With compressed training with the fleet that we now have available, we can train up to several hundred truck drivers CDL in a year,” said CNM Ingenuity Executive Director Kyle Lee.

He says the usual 16-week course is condensed to a fraction of the time. Class sizes are also kept small, with about six students in each group.

“You actually learn to drive the tractor with that trailer, and all the requirements to pass an in-town road test and an on-freeway road test,” said Lee.

Classroom work and a final exam round out the course, where students learn everything about the trucks like checking tires, breaks, the hitch, and hookups.

Lee says this helps graduates land jobs fast, which is important right now.

“Sandia Labs is really looking forward to having a few people coming through our first cohort,” said Lee. “PepsiCo distribution has also come and talked to us.”

He says the state’s oil industry and major distributors are also hiring more truckers.

“The trucking demand is expected to grow by 25 percent through 2020 approximately, so this doesn’t slow down from the moment we start,” said Lee.

He hopes this fast-track course can help fill the nationwide need.

Lee says there are heavy federal regulations for truck drivers and that CNM already meets the guidelines set for 2020.

The first 5-week training class starts Monday, July 9 and it’s not too late to sign up for it on campus or online.