Several Hartsville natives were honored recently for completing their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Truck Driver training at Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC). The recognition took place in Hartsville City Hall’s Council Chambers on Thursday, December 15, 2016. Kevin Gaskins and Gerald (Jerod) Williams will now be able to pursue a career in truck driving due to their hard work and dedicating their time toward earning their certification through the college’s CDL training.
“This particular CDL class is meaningful for Florence-Darlington Technical College for several reasons,” said FDTC Associate Vice President of Corporate and Workforce Development, Lauren Holland. “First, it is our inaugural offering of CDL training in Hartsville, and represents a successful expansion of the program to another part of the college’s service area. Secondly, 100% of the students in this class earned their CDL, and the fact that one from the Hartsville Safe Communities program has obtained employment says a lot about the ability of this program to change lives for the better.”
Williams was a participant in the Hartsville Safe Communities program, which is a data-driven outreach effort designed to help repeat offenders turn their lives around. Williams’ job actually came to fruition due to his success at earning a CDL. Although he is an offender, earning a CDL is a step in the right direction as he looks to turn his life around.
“To me, the CDL program was a big help, because it got me the opportunity to do stuff that I never imagined trying to do,” Williams said. “The class itself, it was pretty difficult, because you don’t see many people parallel park an 18-wheeler. It’s possible, though. With me knowing it was something that I needed and having wonderful instructors like Mr. Randolph (Croker) or Mr. Thomas (Pierce), it’s something that anybody should try to do. Williams continued, “When I first started, I was a temp, but after I got my CDL, I was promoted to a fulltime employee. For now, I’m going to be driving some of the city (of Hartsville) trucks, but hopefully in the future, I can move on, and get on the road and get some on-the-road experience.”
“The trucking industry is second in the nation in terms of workforce size,” said FDTC CDL Program Manager, Thomas Pierce. “However, the industry need for new drivers needed between now and 2020 is well over 100,000, so employment opportunities for individuals with CDLs is great.”
FDTC’s CDL training program is one of the largest in South Carolina, and its students typically have a 100% job placement rate. The extensive training is usually completed in about five weeks. The college has a small fleet of 18-wheelers that students are able to strap in and get hands-on training in real-world settings. A second CDL class is planned for Hartsville in early 2017. Contact Cynthia Admill in the FDTC Corporate and Workforce Development office at Cynthia.Admill@fdtc.edu or 843-661-8028 for additional information.
In the photo: Hartsville natives Kevin Gaskins (left) and Gerald (Jerod) Williams were honored by the City of Hartsville for earning their Commercial Drivers Licenses.