Vantage Career Center adds CDL program

Posted On: December 13, 2017
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VAN WERT INDEPENDENT

With truck drivers in more and more demand, Vantage Career Center’s Ohio Technical Center (OTC) has high hopes for its new Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) program, which officially began Friday with a ribboncutting ceremony.

OTC Director Pete Prichard noted that, because of retirements and changes in federal regulations, the demand for truck drivers is increasing rapidly. Prichard said that, in the next few years, 890,000 new drivers will be needed, adding that programs such as Vantage’s new CDL classes, will be crucial in trying to fill the need for new drivers.

Prichard also introduced the class instructor Chuck Peters, a truck driver with many years of experience, and talked about the new program. Steve Treece, who is also an experienced driver and instructor, will assist Peters. With just one instructor, the class size is limited to approximately four people, but Prichard said he would seek more instructors for the program as enrollment increased.

The OTC director said the first class will begin December 11, and noted that the 200-hour program will run five days a week for five weeks. As part of the class, students will be taught how to drive one of the two semi tractor-trailer rigs the school purchased for the CDL program. There will also be some classroom instruction as well.

Prichard said students do not need to have a high school diploma or equivalent to take the class, but added that the OTC does offer the opportunity for interested students to obtain their high school diploma equivalency at the same time as the CDL class.

Cost of the CDL program is $4,800, but Vantage has been awarded a grant from the state Revolving Loan Fund that would pay much of the cost of the class for qualifying students. However, even qualifying students would need to pay a relatively small fee on their own to participate.

For his part, Peters, who stressed the rewards of having a Class A commercial driver’s license, noting that students who successfully complete the CDL program and earn their CDL can make $50,000 to $60,000 a year to start, with more money possible after a few years of driving.

“Once you have your CDL and you keep your driver’s license clean and you keep your body clean, as in no drugs, you will never want for a job again,” the instructor said, noting that trucking companies are always looking for good employees. “The potential to make $100,000 a year is very real in this business.”