LAKE MILTON, Ohio (WKBN) – A truck driving school in Lake Milton has suspended training operations.
TDDS Technical Institute is suspending all training operations for several reasons including the school not being able to recover after the pandemic. CEO and owner Rick Rathburn, Jr., said extended pandemic unemployment compensation played a large role.
“One of the biggest components since re-opening after the Covid-related shutdown in the spring of 2020 and preventing our school’s recovery has been our prospective student population finding comfort in the enhanced unemployment compensation opportunity instead of taking advantage of an educational path provided to those in need of a well-paying career in the transportation industry. That lack of initiative was a primary reason for our school’s closing,” Rathburn wrote in a statement.
Rathburn cited other reasons for the suspension in operations including:
- Low enrollment leading to severely decreased revenue
- Truck driver training instructional staffing deficiencies
- Continuously increasing inflationary-driven costs of daily operations, i.e., wages, benefits, fuel/oil costs, etc.
- New financial aid regulations causing school educational costs to rise dramatically
- Ohio State legislators removing funding for CDL driver training, amidst a severe shortage of professional truck drivers, (Commercial Truck Driver Student Aid Program – House Bill 110)
- Continual delays in the federal financial aid assistance renewal process, which has prevented TDDS from enrolling new students over the last four months
- Diesel tech training admissions competing against fleet and dealership employers recruiting high school students directly out of high school and putting them through very well-paying apprenticeship programs
TDDS has been in operation since 1973, providing truck driver and diesel mechanics training. The school employs 31 people.
Rathburn said they are looking for a buyer for the school. If they can’t find a buyer, the campus and equipment will be sold, he said.