Craven Community College (Craven CC) introduced its commercial driver license (CDL) program in July 2015. Since then, the CDL program has held nine day and two evening classes. There are 82 graduates with approximately 95 percent of these men and women employed according to Jeffrey Schulze, program coordinator.
Craven CC’s CDL program is offered by its Workforce Development (WFD) division and prepares students for careers driving a variety of commercial trucks from local-delivery panel trucks to long-distance 18-wheel freight transporters. The 7-week CDL Class A (CDL-A) class instructs students to operate tractor trailers.
Daniel Roberts graduated from the second CDL class in September 2015. He was not new to truck driving. “As a young lad I spent several summers traversing our great nation in the passenger seat of an 18-wheeler, I guess you can say I have a case of wanderlust that started many moons ago,” said Roberts. Prior to deciding to become a truck driver, he worked in home improvement and emergency response in Carteret County.
Roberts’ shared his feelings then about the program with his fellow graduates in this poem, titled, “A Tale of the CDL-A.”
In the month of nine,
I decided to do something divine
I saw an ad for the CDL-A.
I said my mercy, so I called Jeff to say Help.
This class 7 weeks ago began.
Jason doesn’t say pecan.
The state gave us trucks to drive,
10 speed transmissions had many fears
as we grinded all the gears.
Each one of us came from a different past,
But with eighteen wheels we hoist our sail on the mast.
Paid by the mile we must move fast.
It’s been fun learning trucks in the sun.
Today we enter new lives with our CDL-A.
But do not forget we all came to Craven one day.
I wish each one of you safe travels
even upon roads that turn to gravel
and cause your nerves to unravel.
From coast to coast and border to border
We can raise a toast for we are the CDL-A.
Roberts returned to the CDL classroom last week to talk with students about his experiences as a professional truck driver. Roberts started his professional driving career in January 2016 with Roehl Transportation with headquarters in Marshfield, Wisconsin. He has hauled building materials across 38 states. Roberts said of the program, “What I’d say to anyone who is thinking of the CDL class and driving a truck…Go for it! Driving a truck is a great career with a stable industry and is the backbone of the country.”
Students 18 years of age or older must complete some pre-requirements, including possessing a valid N.C. driver’s license, passing a U.S. Dept. of Transportation DOT physical examination, obtaining copy of driving record and passing a DOT drug screening test.
A CDL-B (straight truck) class begins March 11. The next day CDL-A class runs March 27-May 19. The next night/weekend CDL-A class runs March 28-July 29. For more information about the classes, costs and possible scholarships, go to the college’s website at www.cravencc.edu/CDL or call WFD at 252-638-7248.
Deborah Kania is the director of marketing, communications and development liaison at Craven Community College.
Article originally appeared in the New Bern Sun Journal.