Driving is a privilege that comes with responsibilities. Teaching children that driving a tractor-trailer, fire truck or motor coach as a career is difficult to do when that opportunity may be a decade away.
Jim Van Den Elzen, Crossroads Safety Management Group, owns a mobile classroom simulator he uses for training commercial drivers throughout the Midwest. His desire to teach children led to the formation of the non-profit organization, Drivings Cool (drivingscoolinc.org). His goal is to allow middle and high school students to drive the simulator and start thinking about how their actions now might affect their ability to acquire a job in transportation later.
The students get the opportunity to drive their choice of vehicle, such as a dump truck, ambulance, fire truck or tractor-trailer. Then, they are asked to sign a pledge to keep their driving record clean and to be drug and alcohol free when they graduate. If they fulfill these goals, they will receive a scholarship upon graduation of high school to pursue training in a transportation related field.
“The goal of this organization is to introduce students to potential transportation related careers and to help them understand the importance of their driving actions now,” said Van Den Elzen. He has received IRS nonprofit status and organized the board of directors and is now seeking funding for the project. If the concept is successful in Wisconsin, other states will be added in the future.
Ellen Voie President/CEO of Women in Trucking Association (womenintrucking.org) based in Wisconsin, serves on the Board of Directors. “I am excited to be a part of this initiative,” said Voie, “as it aligns with our mission to encourage the next generation to consider careers in the trucking industry and Drivings Cool will allow us to expose these careers to young women and men.”
In addition to Van Den Elzen and Voie, other directors include Craig Dickman; Breakthrough Fuel Technologies, Karen Matze; Business Consultatnt, Ed Janke; Howard (WI) Director of Public Safety, Mike Ruby; CPA at Kerber, Rose & Associates, Jim Lewis, Attorney, Lewis & Van Sickle, LLC, Jerry Mader, Owner, Business News Newspaper and James Clemens, M.D., Prevea Clinic.
Drivings Cool is seeking funds from corporate sponsors. For more information contact Van Den Elzen at
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