A New Look Rolling Out for SCC's CDL Program | SCC

A New Look Rolling Out for SCC's CDL Program

Published on Jul 28, 2020

cdl truckThere is no mistaking the new training truck for the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) program at Somerset Community College (SCC). Sporting the college’s colors, logo and “Drive To Your Future” slogan, the 18-wheeler stands out even on a crowded highway.

Program instructor, John Mitchell, says the college recently purchased the 2015 Mack sleeper with Fuller 10-speed transmission in Alabama. The vehicle has already been used for a couple of classes and “is a huge hit with the students,” Mitchell said. “They really enjoy the truck.” The new “number one truck” also has “the same transmission, the same set-up” as the program’s state-of-the-art tractor-trailer simulator, he said.

SCC’s CDL program has been supported by three local industry partners who have made individual donations to help provide equipment and resources available for students. The three partners include: CoreTrans, Eagle Trailer Rental & Storage, and Prairie Farms. You can see their logos on the side of the new CDL truck.

Classes are held on SCC’s Somerset Campus for 10 hours a day, four days a week, for four weeks—160 hours. Forty of the hours are in the classroom/simulator and 120 are in the trucks, driving and performing maneuvers.

Currently six students are accepted into the program each month, with classes beginning the first Monday of each month. The program is administered through Workforce Solutions.

Mitchell noted that due to Covid-19, the classes practice social distancing and that there have been changes in the instruction. “In the truck we go one-on-one now instead of three-on-one,” he said. When the course is completed, students will have learned all the necessary skills to take the Class A CDL license test. The evaluation is administered by a Kentucky State Police, and Mitchell says the college is involved throughout the entire process.

The SCC program not only makes the appointment for the driving assessment, but “we actually take (students) to take the test and they use our truck.” And, after receiving their CDL license, Mitchell says that graduates could see immediate results. “There are very good employment possibilities for truck drivers in this area,”  he said and notes that “a CDL is a guaranteed paycheck for the rest of your life.”

Even with the country in the grips of the current pandemic, the instructor says that truck drivers can find employment.

“As long as there is supply and demand and as long as manufacturing can keep up, truck drivers will be there to pull the supply to stores, warehouses and everybody else,” he said. And, Mitchell says the $3,800 cost for the training “is a  bargain.” 

“I can’t think of any other program offered anywhere that you can go to for less than $4,000, be done in a month, and walk out into the workforce and potentially earn $50,000 right off the bat.” The program’s cost includes a permit and the first over-the-road test.

And, when the training is successfully completed, students earn six (6) college credit hours. Mitchell noted that the program can accept students as young as 18-year-old. “You are restricted to driving within the state of Kentucky until your 21 (years old), but that’s really not a detriment,” he said. “There are all kinds of jobs driving trucks within the state.”

Mitchell noted that just a few of the potential employment opportunities include driving trucks for commerce, waste collection, and construction.

Besides teaching students “how to drive,” Mitchell says his “goal is to prepare students for the trucking industry, to make them the safest possible driver out there, and to educate them as to what questions to ask (potential employers.)”

“I will teach them to be a truck driver, with safety paramount,” he said. “It is my dream that every one of my students has my driving record ... and I will tell them the secrets to doing that.”

Mitchell has been a truck driver and trainer for 27 years and has a 2.5 million mile accident-free record. The instructor said that anyone interested in the course is invited to come and “shadow the class.” 

For more information on SCC’s CDL program, program requirements, and funding options, visit SCC’s website at: somerset.kctcs.edu/workforce-solutions/cdl-program or email the instructor at john.mitchell@kctcs.edu.