Commercial Truck Technology Program Prepares Students for the Long Haul
Jim Clifford, Commercial Truck Technology , Class of: 2002
Jim Clifford Jr.'s fascination with trucks began during childhood growing up in Elyria.
"I played with my share of Tonka toys when I was a kid - trucks, bulldozers, just about anything Tonka made," Clifford said. "I knew very early that trucks were going to be a part of my life."
This "child's play" certainly paid off. Clifford parlayed his love of "all things big and mechanical" into a career as a heavy equipment technician for Ross Transportation Services, of Grafton. The company specializes in the transportation of hazardous and industrial waste materials.
"Hauling industrial waste is a huge responsibility, so we take big pride in maintaining our vehicles," said Clifford, who also services tow motors, back hoes and metal shredders.
In February (2014), the Ross trucking fleet celebrated three million safe driving miles, the equivalent of traveling six times to the moon and back, according to the company web site.
Clifford, a 2002 JVS Commercial Truck Technology Program graduate, now living in South Amherst, knew he was destined for this particular career-technical program because, "I'm not ashamed to admit I like getting my hands dirty and making sure the vehicles in my charge are well-maintained and ready to go," he said.
"I started my 'career-training' early by working with my dad getting our family's snow plow trucks ready each winter," he continued.
As part of his JVS training, Clifford became industry certified in air brakes and air conditioning. He chose to continue his education after high school at the University of Northwestern in Lima, Ohio, becoming certified in commercial mechanics.
"There is a shortage of qualified diesel technicians available to meet the needs of the industry," stated Clifford. "So I made a solid career choice, it's a great field for students to consider."
Moreover, a 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows that Ohio is one of the top five states hiring diesel mechanics.
Which is why the Ross Foundation, Inc. makes an annual $1,000 scholarship available to a JVS graduating senior from the school's Transportation Academy who plans to continue their education at an accredited college, technical or trade school.
Said Clifford: "Until I enrolled at the JVS, I had never opened the hood of a commercial truck. But the JVS pointed me in the right direction and placed me where I am today. Like anything worthwhile, if you're going to be successful, you really have to want it. I did. It was worth it!"