Gavin Baker walked the stage at Susquehanna Community’s graduation ceremony less than two weeks ago, and he’s already back in the classroom – but now, he’s working to earn his CDL license at the training program at the Susquehanna County Career & Technology Center (SCCTC). Baker also graduated from the SCCTC Carpentry and Cabinetmaking program this year.
Baker, along with several others that recently completed their high school careers, are being helped out with scholarships for the program made possible by a $40,000 education improvement tax credit (EITC) donation from Cabot Oil & Gas that can be used to help recent graduates cover the cost of the CDL training program.
Cabot spokesman George Stark said the program allows high school seniors the opportunity to put their diploma on hold until they finish the CDL program and then fully graduate with a CDL license.
Bill desRosiers, of Cabot, said the company was looking for creative ways for high school seniors to graduate and get their CDL license.
SCCTC Executive Director Alice Davis said the benefits of the program and the scholarship is that students “don’t have heavy debt” and after five to seven weeks of training, they can find jobs. “The opportunity is right here,” she said. “The need is out there.”
As for Baker, he became interested in obtaining his CDL license last summer. “I drove by the GDS building in Lenox everyday and saw a lot of nice trucks there,” he said, and noted he was looking at the vehicles driven by employees. “I knew it was a way to make a lot of money pretty quick,” he said.
Down the line, Baker hopes his carpentry certification also helps with his career, and in the near future he plans to speak with GDS about joining their team of drivers.
Chad Gorman of GDS is eager to talk with those obtaining CDL licenses at SCCTC. He said that after a hiring freeze through COVID, the company is starting to hire again. He said he hoped the SCCTC CDL school will become the primary source for new drivers with GDS.
Before the check presentation, Gorman had an opportunity to talk to students about the opportunities available for drivers with GDS.
In addition to the EITC program money available for recent grads, there are also $500 scholarships available for adult learners looking to enroll in the CDL program.