Reid State Technical College and Billy Barnes Enterprises Establish the First Competency-Based Driver Registered Apprenticeship in Alabama

RSTC Billy Barnes

Reid State Technical College and Billy Barnes Enterprises have established the first competency-based Commercial Driver Registered Apprenticeship (RA) program in the state. Registered Apprenticeships are nationally recognized and proven training models that allow participants to “earn while they learn.”


Terry Kilpatrick, President of Billy Barnes Enterprises stated, “We are proud to launch this apprenticeship and create an avenue for the next generation of workers to get connected to good paying positions in the transportation sector. These professional drivers serve as the backbone of our economy, and a shortage in this field has unmatched ripple effects. This program represents a model of success in meeting a massive workforce demand for commercial drivers.” Billy Barnes Enterprises has a longstanding history of excellence and continues to be an industry leader. The company operates three divisions and provides quality transportation services throughout the Eastern and Southern United States.


Apprenticeships are a proven approach for preparing workers for jobs while meeting the needs of businesses for a highly skilled workforce. Employers benefit from increased retention, productivity, safety, and diversity, while apprentices are provided hands-on training at the job site for a career. The demand for commercial drivers will only continue to grow. Apprenticeships like this help provide a pathway for job seekers to stable, high quality career opportunities,” stated Josh Laney, Director of the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship. “The creation of these meaningful training and employment opportunities, in partnership with champion employers like Billy Barnes Enterprises, is a benefit to the individual apprentices, the local economy, and Alabama as a whole.”


“Governor Ivey’s Success Plus goal was established to add 500,000 newly trained workers to the workforce by 2025. With the rate that Alabama’s economy continues to flourish and grow it will take more than 500,000. It is going to take programs like this that give the people in the state of Alabama the opportunity to fill those positions, meet the needs of employers, and better themselves and better the economy of their community.”


As the Sponsor for this apprenticeship, Reid State is responsible for the administration and overall management of the program. This allows tremendous flexibility for local business and industry partners and great opportunity for their students to all be a part of a nationally recognized program. “The student who graduates our program will keep our Country moving and growing,” stated David Cole, Director of Workforce Development at Reid State Technical College. “Trucking is the dominant transportation source in Alabama and drives our state’s diverse and thriving economy.” 


The new partnership is off to a great start with six students, Chase Sawyer, Antonio Hall, Vyshaun Watson, Darious Booker, Christopher Benson and Ross Bebee participating in the Apprentice Signing Day in Monroeville, AL on Wednesday, September 29.


“Through our wonderful partnerships, we were able to create a solution to meet our local workforce demands. This endeavor was made possible because our State, County, and City leaders acknowledged a need in Monroe County and were willing to work with private industry to offer a solution,” said Darlene Thompson, Director of Monroeville/Monroe County Economic Development Authority.


“This new and innovative apprentice program, tailor-made for trucking companies, is the result of the hard work by many dedicated individuals. This program will be beneficial to students and employers, and paves another career pathway to enter Alabama’s trucking industry. The Alabama Trucking Association Foundation is proud of the partnership forged with our community colleges and high schools to bring this program to life, stated Tim Frazier, Vice President of the Alabama Trucking Association. “We have high hopes that this model apprenticeship program can be replicated throughout the state and will accelerate many new talented individuals to start a career in Alabama Trucking.”


The Commercial Driver Registered Apprenticeship represents a concerted effort in building and developing viable talent pipelines and encouraging Alabama job seekers to enter these life-changing career pathways.