City of Abbeville Partnership with PTC Addresses CDL Driver Shortage
In an apprenticeship collaboration launched last year, Piedmont Technical College (PTC) and the City of Abbeville are helping employees who drive any city vehicle to earn their Class B Commercial Driver’s Licenses. Full-time firefighter Chandler White is one of them. He believes the additional experience he’s receiving will help him grow in his career.
“The CDL program is a good way for us to further our education,” he said. “As a firefighter, we take classes and trainings all the time, but CDL is a little different.”
Chandler’s father, Mike White, is a training coordinator and instructor with PTC’s Continuing Education Division.
“This partnership is for the city’s drivers, including firefighters, maintenance workers and police officers,” Mike said. “It addresses a shortage of qualified CDL drivers across several departments.”
The Class B CDL applies to vehicles weighing 26,001 pounds or more and generally comprises larger vehicles like dump trucks, garbage trucks, delivery trucks and cement mixers.
Chandler already regularly drives the Fire Department’s trucks, as federal and state laws do not require firefighters to have a commercial driver’s license. However, the Department trained him to drive the truck.
“I feel like the fire truck and the Class B vehicles are very similar to drive,” Chandler noted. “They are comparable in weight, about 50,000 pounds.”
Chandler is comfortable behind the wheel of a massive fire truck but operates it with the reverence it warrants. “You have to know the limits of what you can do and what you cannot do,” he said. “You could be responding to a call at 3 a.m. You have to be very aware of your surroundings and what you are doing” to ensure everyone’s safety. “When I have time, I will try and go back and get my Class A (big rig) license.”
For more information about PTC’s CDL training, visit www.ptc.edu/cdl.
PHOTO: Chandler White of the Abbeville Fire Department