LBW offers free CDL training course for businesses and industry

Published 9:15 am Thursday, March 16, 2023

LBW Community College is now seeking businesses and industries to participate in a free commercial driver’s license training course through the workforce development and continuing education program.

Several local farmers along with employees from CDG, PowerSouth, A&W Excavation, Airtek Construction, and the City of Elba recently completed the course. Representatives at Southeast Gas, Covington Electric, Pioneer Electric, and the City of Andalusia have also shown interest.

“This training will be extremely beneficial to our community. Participants can become credentialed in a short time and obtain either a Class A or B endorsement for HAZMAT, school bus, passenger bus, and more. Typically, it takes one week for completion of the training that is provided at no cost,” Director of Workforce Development Chad Sutton said.

According to Sutton, the concept for the course was developed by the ACCS Innovation Center Skills for Success.

“They view this course as an opportunity for individuals and businesses to participate in rapid credentialing that benefits high-demand and high-paying jobs. CDL training is a competency-based credential. If the participant is competent and can pass the CDL exam administered by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and follow the federal guidelines, they can receive a commercial driver’s license. We make sure the federal guidelines for new drivers are followed. Participants must take and pass a federal requirement called the entry-level driver training program before attempting to become CDL-licensed.”

Participants of the class will be taught how to pass the CDL exam by mastering required skills such as pre-trip inspections, backing maneuvers, parking maneuvers, and successfully navigating the public road course. They will cover all of the required ELDT content and receive a certificate from LBWCC Skills for Success upon completion.

CDG Environmental Scientist I Will Jones saw a tremendous impact as a result of his participation in the training.

“As a part of CDG, it was beneficial to acquire a CDL to better help mobilize the team. After participating in LBW’s CDL training course, it was a huge help to preparing me for both the written and road tests. The course covers everything you will need to know from pre-trip inspections to on-the-road driving and backing scenarios. After completing the course, you will have the confidence needed to become a licensed CDL holder,” Jones said.

PowerSouth Facility Worker II Josh Cottle had several takeaways and found the course to be convenient.

“I chose to take the course because obtaining a Class A CDL was a requirement for my new job. It was local, and the class was significantly shorter than any of the other out-of-town alternatives. I’ll be using my class A CDL on a daily basis while hauling anything from heavy equipment and access mats to delivering power poles,” Cottle said.

Cottle stated he had previously received his Class B CDL and drove a tri-axle dump truck for two years.

“I already had a good understanding of the air brakes and general knowledge sections. I benefited mostly from the combination portion of the course. Our instructor Jim was very helpful and knowledgeable. He taught me the proper techniques for backing a 53-foot trailer. This was very new to me when we started. However, by the end of the course, he had us all completely prepped for the pre-trip, skills demo, and road test when we went to take our state test.”

While the training is free, Sutton added that participants must be able to use their employers’ vehicles to train with and test on. “We see a lot of farmers that have been running on farm tags wanting to become credentialed. Many businesses, municipalities, and school systems are taking advantage of the program.”

He feels a CDL is important for the economy and allows drivers to be set apart from others because of their credentials.

“Drivers can make an excellent wage moving goods, equipment, and people all over the country. CDL drivers make our communities as efficient as possible. Most of the goods we buy at every store are delivered by a CDL driver. Equipment that makes our factories, job sites, and more come on trucks. The vehicles we buy were all once delivered by trucks, and building materials are delivered by trucks, garbage trucks, utility trucks, students, and passengers on buses. Safety is the number-one policy for CDL drivers. Everything that gets delivered has to be done as safely as possible for all of our benefits. That is why the credentialing is put in place.”

With no indication of an end date, Sutton hopes the program will be offered for several years.

“We hope to have a community full of competent CDL drivers, which in turn makes it so much safer for everyone on the road. Our local businesses will also benefit from this course immensely. It is vital our community learns of this opportunity to receive a CDL for $0 cost. It is an extremely important program for our local businesses and community members,” he said.

For more information or registration email or call Chad Sutton at 334-881-2335.