Truck Driving Program at STLCC Helps Students Obtain CDL-A and Further Careers

By on January 29, 2019
CDL-A Commercial Truck Driver Training

Imagine only eating, sleeping and driving for days at a time. Imagine driving at least six hours without a break. Career Pathway coach Bahi Talundzic sets up those scenarios each week as he advertises the CDL-A truck driving program at St. Louis Community College. “If you listen to my presentation at the information sessions, it’s almost as if I’m trying to convince you not to go,” Talundzic said. “I’m trying to paint a realistic picture of the truck driving lifestyle.”

The STLCC truck driving program began in 2014, when there were about 30,000 trucking jobs available nationwide, according to the ATA. By 2018, that number had tripled to 90,000. As the economy boomed, the trucking industry grew. “If there were no truck drivers it would affect the whole economy and prices for goods would increase,” Talundzic explained.

As employers continue increasing their fleets, STLCC continues to train drivers. What sets the College apart from other programs is the small class size, time behind the wheel and success rate. Students participate in classes with no more than eight students at a time and get at least 45 hours of behind-the-wheel experience, which is more than the Professional Truck Driving Institute recommends. The extended time learning speaks to the program’s success rate averaging 90 percent of students obtaining their CDL-A license.

The course itself covers trip planning, pre-trip inspection, regulations, safety and vehicle control, various backing maneuvers and road driving in different settings. As licensed truck drivers, students can go on to work over-the-road, regionally or locally, each with varying pay scales.

STLCC brings recruiters into class so that students graduate not only with insider tips on the industry, but an average of five to six job offers. Employers all offer different benefits and salaries, which is why Talundzic emphasizes the importance of student-recruiter communication.

Talundzic wants students to know how to evaluate their offers – some might offer pet policies or different schedules. “It’s informative for students to gain the knowledge and really get an idea of what’s going on out there,” he said.

Many students say their lives change in multiple ways after beginning a career in truck driving. Talundzic says the program has helped many veterans and homeless people get on their feet. “We’ve trained people biking to class, people trying to take care of their families by working two or three different jobs – really people struggling,” he said. Although Talundzic recognizes that the pay is good, he still emphasizes the main question: “Are you fit to be a truck driver?” For those who can answer “yes,” job opportunities await.

STLCC’s next truck driving cohort begins Feb. 25; additional information can be found at Students must be at least 21 years old and able to pass a drug and physical test, in accordance with the Department of Transportation. Additionally, prospective students must attend a free truck driving information session. These sessions are offered at 9:30 a.m. on the first, third and fourth Thursday of each month and at 5 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month.

To begin your career in truck driving, call 314-984-7777 or visit today.

About Laura Davis

Laura Davis is a Marketing Communications Coordinator at St. Louis Community College’s Workforce Solution Group, which delivers non-credit continuing education opportunities, corporate training and community services to the St. Louis region.

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