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New program at Eau Claire High School to offer Commercial Driver’s License

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Eau Claire High School Principal Neshunda Walters (center) about to cut the Ribbon

Eau Claire High School Principal Neshunda Walters (center) prepares to cut the ribbon for the new Richland One Commercial Driver’s License Program at Eau Claire. The program, which is the first high school CDL training program in the state and only the third in the nation, was established in partnership between Richland One and the South Carolina Trucking Association.

Innovative program is the first of its kind in the state

A new program at Eau Claire High School that is the first of its kind in the Palmetto State can help meet the demand in a variety of industries for drivers with commercial driver’s licenses.

Richland One held a ribbon-cutting ceremony May 16 to celebrate the district’s Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Program at Eau Claire High School. The program, which is the first high school CDL training program in the state and only the third in the nation, was established in partnership between Richland One and the South Carolina Trucking Association.

“Great things happen when our business and community partners join with us to create unique learning experiences, opportunities and career pathways for our students,” said Richland One Superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon. “We are excited about the competitive advantages that this program will offer our students.”

Thirty-one students are currently enrolled in the program, which began in August. Students receive classroom instruction and, starting in the 2019-2020 school year, they will get behind-the-wheel training in an on-campus driving range. An 18-wheeler truck, a 15-passenger bus and a 25-passenger bus have been donated to the program. Training equipment also will include four driving simulators with 200 driving scenarios – two will be tabletop driving simulators and two will be cockpit driving simulators.

Through established agreements, students who complete the three-year program at Eau Claire can go on to complete their behind-the-wheel CDL training through one of four technical colleges (Midlands Tech, Orangeburg-Calhoun Tech, Florence-Darlington Tech or Greenville Tech), or through private CDL training programs at Palmetto Training, Inc. in Columbia or Sage Truck Driving School in Lexington. The classroom instruction will be waived since the students will have completed it at Eau Claire.

“This innovative program is a true public-private collaborative,” said Rick Todd, president and CEO of the South Carolina Trucking Association. “It will show our citizens, leaders, educators and parents what we can do to help students find their path. Most importantly, once on it, it becomes a pipeline from school to work for select individuals who aspire to become proud professionals in a dynamic, rewarding and critically-important industry. A CDL license is a credential that can take its holders to places they never dreamed they might go.”

Through the district’s partnership with the South Carolina Trucking Association, the Richland One CDL Program at Eau Claire High School has received donations from several sponsors, including Cardinal Logistics Management Corp., Blanchard Machinery, CVS Pharmacy, G&P Trucking Company, KC Transport, L.A. Barrier & Sons, Meritor, N.W. White & Co., Southeastern Freight Lines, Southern Tank Transport, Spinx Transportation, Swafford Transport, Whitaker Transportation, and Whit-Ash Furniture.

For more information, contact the Richland One Office of Communications at (803) 231-7504.

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