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Coastal Bend College creates CDL program in response to nationwide driver shortage

Posted at 6:07 PM, Aug 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-30 16:35:42-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Coastal Bend College is all about driving student success, but this semester student success is driving forward with their new Commercial Drivers License (CDL) program.

The program is available in all four Coastal Bend College locations: Beeville, Alice, Kingsville, and Pleasanton.

The CDL program will offer training in Class A or Class B driver's licenses. The courses will be rotated, meaning Class A license courses will be offered at each location first, followed by Class B courses at each location.

"The trucks are basically a mobile classroom on wheels, so we can take it to all four locations and offer the same program throughout the community," Director of Workforce Development Braden Reed said.

According to the American Trucking Association, there’s both a state and nationwide shortage of drivers, which is why Coastal Bend College felt it was a necessary response as a community college to start their CDL program, in hopes of boosting economic growth.

"With the amount of job opportunities in our region for CDL drivers, if you want change, this is it. It is crucial to have these trucks on the road and provide these services. It's not your typical two-year degree. It puts you right to work. It provides great living and great economic pay," Dean of Career and Technical Education Jarod Bleibdrey said.

The program will be both online and in person with in-house feedback. Once students finish the six-week course, they will get a certificate of completion and be eligible to take the CDL exam.

Because of a federal law passed in February 2022, drivers must go through an eligible and federally recognized training provider in order to take the CDL exam. Luckily Coastal Bend College is qualified.

"If you go in without training you might not qualify, but Coastal Bend College is one of the approved training providers so you will be able to take that exam," Reed said.

The course is flexible and will work around those with busy schedules to get their future started this semester.

"Short term, short turnaround. You invest in yourself and you get to see the rewards in the same quarter," Bleibdrey said.

Each of the four locations has a different deadline. The first is coming up on September 8 for the Beeville campus. Other deadlines will follow.

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