Three eight-week courses will be offered throughout the summer for those interested in obtaining their commercial driver’s license.
BANGOR, Maine — Instructors from the Northern Maine Community College in Près Isle traveled south to Bangor to train the next wave of truckers.
These instructors brought their free commercial driver’s license course to Eastern Maine Community College for the summer.
The course, an eight-week program that prepares students to obtain a Class A driving licence, involves the first few weeks being spent in class. Dennis Dyer is the program administrator at NMCC.
“The last five weeks we’ve been out in the field doing parallel parking, back alley docking, all that kind of stuff and on the road too, [to] help them prepare for their tests,” Dyer said.
The first session started on Monday, and the next two sessions will start as soon as the previous one ends. This program should end at EMCC in September.
The course can be offered free of charge through the Harold Alfond Advancement for Maine’s Workforce Grant.
“I think the average cost is probably at least $7,000 to $8,000 or more, so the fact that we can offer this for free helps a lot of people,” Dyer said.
Orrington resident Darnell Flowers is one of the students on the course. Flowers said he already had his Class B license but was considering training programs to get his Class A license when he got the opportunity.
“Having this program and enjoying what’s presented here is going to catapult me and take me where I’m looking to go,” Flowers said.
Avram Burg of Van Buren decided to go this route after he was recently laid off from a forestry company during mud season.
“Working in the woods, I saw the logging trucks and I saw what they were doing. And I always thought, ‘You know, that’s kind of cool to do,'” Burg said.
There is a wide range of starting salaries depending on the commercial truck driving path one might follow.
“It ranged from, I’ve seen up to $100,000 a year to $60,000. The lowest I’ve seen is $45,000,” Burg said.
According to ziprecruiter.com, the average annual salary for a CDL truck driver in 2022 in Maine is $44,245. Companies like Walmart, however, are trying to combat their shortage of drivers by offering median wages that double, up to $110,000 a year, according to NBC News.
Liz Russell, EMCC’s vice president of academic affairs and soon-to-be college president, said it’s all part of their effort to prepare students for a number of Maine workforces that need workers. .
“We have a number of other free programs that are available for people who want to get into new fields like medical assisting, surgical technology, phlebotomy, electricians and that sort of thing,” Russell said. .
“For me to move on to the next chapter, this is the beginning of my chapter,” Flowers said.
For more information on the workforce programs offered at EMCC, click here.
To register for the next CDL course at EMCC and find out more, click here.