Learning for the long haul

| July 06, 2007

InCab U is geared specifically toward drivers who plan to stay in the industry.

Launched in 2005 by TransMarkets Technologies, a software and e-commerce provider to the trucking industry, InCab U currently offers a bachelor of science degree in organizational leadership, which focuses on developing the skills of critical thinking, problem solving and decision making with a concentration in transportation management.

“Case studies that the drivers will be working on will be specifically designed for their lives as professional truck drivers,” Ricketts says.

The accelerated program allows transportation employees to complete a degree in a minimum of 18 months and prepares them for the next level – a master of science in strategic leadership. InCab U will also work with drivers to determine if any of their prior learning or military experience can be converted to credit value.

“A lot of our truck drivers are former military and formerly from the service industry like policemen, firemen, and they can parlay that into academic credit,” Ricketts says. “There are a lot of drivers out there who probably have credits they don’t even know they have. We’ll talk to you and work with you.”

InCab U plans to expand into safety training and professional programs geared toward helping owner-operators become more profitable. It is also working with fleets to offer its programs as incentives to attract and retain drivers.

“Our goal is to be a one-stop shop for all things educational in transportation,” Ricketts says.

Existing programs like Overdrive magazine’s Partners in Business manual and owner-operator business services firm ATBS’ Course of Advanced Business Standards [see "Independent Trucking 101," pg. 24] are designed to help drivers become owner-operators and owner-operators develop better business skills. Seminars, manuals and online courses are available.

“Even a driver that doesn’t own his own truck needs to know how to manage his money,” Cerra says. “It can help them make decisions that can affect them and their companies.”

Financial aid is available for both distance-learning and face-to-face courses through individual institutions. At Mountain State University/InCab U, where tuition is $270 per credit hour, working adults qualify as full-time for financial aid purposes if they complete four courses in a 16-week semester.

“There are a lot of government-subsidized loans that have phenomenal rates, and students don’t have to pay on those until 6 months after they finish the program,” Ricketts says. “It’s a powerful tool for drivers to check into who are serious about starting this.”

Whatever options you choose, Cerra recommends making the choice to further your education.

“I think it only helps the industry,” he says. “The more educated people we have, the less stereotypical we are.”

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