JCC, partners collaborate for truck-driver training

The first cohort of CDL Class A training is pictured alongside its instructors. From left, Jeffery Morris and Zachary Aucter, National Tractor Trailer School instructors; Kyle R. Bellinger of Carthage; Austin P. Bauer of Constableville; Martha J. Sullivan of Croghan; Justin R. Hall of Carthage; Peter A. Davoy of Croghan; and Timothy Toppin, NTTS instructor. Provided photo

WATERTOWN — This fall, in collaboration with the North Country Workforce Development Institute and Lewis County, Jefferson Community College partnered with the National Tractor Trailer School to offer free hands-on training to prepare five students to take the nationally recognized commercial driver’s license Class A exam.

The three-part exam includes a knowledge test, endorsement knowledge test and a driving skills test. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for tractor-trailer truck drivers is expected to grow more than 6% through the year 2030 due to recovery from the COVID-19 recession and the elevated need for truck drivers as households and businesses increase their spending online.

“It is an honor for Jefferson to collaborate with Lewis County, NCWDI and NTTS to devise a solution that helps put people to work and simultaneously meets a gap in the workforce,” Dr. Megan A. Stadler, associate vice president of strategic initiatives at JCC, said in a statement. “The College is listening to employers and will continue to develop partnerships and programs to serve the north country.”

The five-week CDL Class A training program, held at the Lewis County Education Center in Lowville, began in November. Training consisted of 118 hours of classroom instruction and 107 hours of behind-the-wheel learning for a total of 225 hours of training. Behind-the-wheel training required backing maneuvers and road rides through Lowville on a 10-speed manual transmission, which allowed students to be qualified to drive an automatic or manual tractor-trailer without any restrictions. In the classroom, material to prepare for the CDL Class A written exam, including Department of Transportation safety, rules and regulations, was presented.

CDL Class A licensed drivers are qualified to drive a tractor-trailer, dump truck, straight truck, snowplow and more.

“It was with great pleasure that NTTS had this excellent opportunity to work with JCC, NCWDI, and Lewis County and those students selected for this grant,” Kimberly Sather, program development director for the National Tractor Trailer School, said in a statement. “These students worked so hard to complete the training program and now have a marketable skill in a high-demand occupation. The CDL A will now allow them to contribute to the local economy in many ways.”

JCC Workforce Development is exploring running additional CDL Class A training programs. If interested in enrolling in a future CDL Class A training program, email ced@sunyjefferson.edu.

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