Liberal, KS

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SCCC Receives $1.2m in New Federal Funding

Joe Denoyer - April 10, 2024 10:42 am

LIBERAL, Kan. — Seward County Community College will receive a boost for its truck driving expansion and west campus facility thanks to a $1.2 million allocation from the federal government. The Department of Labor released final numbers in its labor, health, and human services bill, including the SCCC line item sponsored by U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran.

For the last few years, the CDL program at SCCC has operated at full capacity with waitlists. In 2021, college administration began expansion planning to meet industry demands, and won a $1.81 million matching grant from the state of Kansas to expand the CDL and Diesel Technician programs. In January 2024, a Kansas Department of Transportation grant added $335,625 specifically for the project. The federal award reflects the program’s potential to spark powerful change for the region.

“We’re excited about the impact this program can have in our community and everywhere truck drivers are needed,” said SCCC President Brad Bennett. “Sen. Moran’s support for our vision underscores the way this can change the game for individuals, business and industry, and communities in our service area.”

When complete, the expansion is slated to triple the number of graduates from SCCC’s CDL program. Graduates typically go directly from the classroom and driving range to employment. The pipeline is a win for SCCC students because of the high demand and lucrative wages in the truck driving industry.

SCCC’s yet-unnamed west campus began with a design for a newly constructed 10,000-square-foot academic building paired with a 10,000-square-foot structure with four repair/wash bays. Due to high inflation in construction materials, the college looked for alternative ideas. In the fall of 2023, the college successfully secured a 42,000 square foot existing building and 12 acres on Western Avenue, directly north of the USD 480 high school. The purchase effectively cut the project price by nearly half, while doubling the square footage.

“This facility creates more opportunities for the college,” said Bennett. “The building will be used for the two programs that are the focus of state and federal funding. In addition, space will be dedicated for a partnership with USD 480 to provide access to technical education.”

Future goals aside, the moment feels “fantastic,”, Bennett said. “We’re so grateful for Sen. Moran’s support and his connection to our college and the people in Southwest Kansas.”

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