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CCAC offering new CDL program to help meet growing demand for truck drivers

ccac tractor trailerPITTSBURGH—The Community College of Allegheny County has rolled out a new noncredit Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) program that is designed to help meet the urgent demand for commercial truck drivers. The program will be offered at CCAC Boyce Campus and CCAC Washington County Center and will run for eight weeks with classes meeting four hours a day, Monday-Friday.

Classes start every four weeks at each location, with the next classes starting at Boyce Campus on December 7 and at Washington Crown Center on January 4. No prior truck driving experience is required.

The classroom portion of the course prepares students to take their CDL Class A permit tests (general knowledge A, general knowledge B, and air brake) and provides students with a working knowledge of log books/hours of service and of Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations. The classroom instruction also provides students with information on career opportunities in the transportation industry and prepares students for the lab (driving) portion of the course, which may include the use of a shifting simulator. The lab portion is 80 hours of hands-on lab work with two students assigned to one truck and one instructor. This allows for 40 hours of individualized behind-the-wheel instruction for each student, giving students the skills needed to pass the CDL Class A driver's test. It also provides these students with the skills and knowledge to obtain entry-level employment as a Class A or B CDL driver.

Hundreds of commercial driving jobs are available in this area for local (home every day), regional (gone one or two nights a week) and over-the-road (nationwide) drivers. Those who successfully complete the program are often offered a job even before they have passed their CDL test, according to Darius Markham, program coordinator.  

“On any given day, there are as many as 70,000 driver jobs available nationwide,” Markham said. “And for people who want to drive close to home, they won’t have to leave the area. Companies that offer family sustaining wages with full benefits, including Giant Eagle, Waste Management, UPS and Amazon, need drivers now.”

The CCAC program is ideal for individuals who have lost jobs due to the pandemic or for those who want to switch careers. The program offers small class sizes, flexible schedules, individual instruction and lower tuition than many other programs. According to Markham, after two years on the job, a truck driver can potentially make yearly salaries of $60,000 to $70,000. With new, modern equipment and amenities, companies are attracting more nontraditional drivers, including college-educated men and women and minorities. 

The CCAC program follows all CDC guidelines to ensure safety and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. For more information or to register, contact Darius Markham at 724.325.6834 or dmarkham@ccac.edu. To learn more about the program or complete an inquiry/preregistration form, click here.