CDL classes coming to town

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BENNINGTON — The Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union will become the first organization in Bennington to offer a preparatory class for those seeking a commercial drivers license.

The first iteration of the class will run from Nov. 14 to Dec. 21, and is being taught by Tim Whitman of Whitman's Driving School in Hoosick Falls. The class will meet every Tuesday and Thursday at the CDC from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The cost to apply is $260, and the center guarantees that if you do not pass the CDL learner's permit test within 180 days, you may re-enroll at no cost.

"There's a big need in our community for licensed CDL drivers," said CDC Director Michael Lawler, who said that he has been discussing the creation of this course with Melanie Letourneau at the Vermont Department of Labor for several months.

The ultimate goal, said Lawler, is to have the CDC become a licensed driving school, and he said that he hopes the center will receive the proper licensing from the Agency of Transportation by the end of this school year. "There are still a few things that we need to meet to get that, but we didn't want to wait for that," he said, on the decision to roll out the CDL permit prep course first.

The first class is accepting applicants now, and will continue to do so until the class begins or the capacity is reached, and the application is available on the CDC website, along with more information about the program. The initial program will only have capacity for 15 students, but Lawler said he was confident that this course is going to be a foundation for a larger driving program at the center.

"It helps people get a big leg up in an industry that desperately needs drivers," said Lawler.

Reach staff writer Derek Carson at 802-447-7567, ext. 122 or @DerekCarsonBB

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