UNM-Taos is seeking students for its first Commercial Driver Training course, which will offer flexible options for those interested in pursuing careers on the road.
Instructor Max Kaufman said commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) offer important economic opportunities, and his father’s career as a commercial driver helped lift his family out of “extreme poverty.”
“It’s a tough way to make a living,” he said. “It provided a good lifestyle, even though my father was away most of the time.”
Training for Class A licenses, which cover tractor trailers, begins March 18.
“We need a minimum of four students to make the first class,” Kaufman said. “That shouldn’t be too difficult.”
The program will also offer Class B training, which includes straight trucks, buses and specialized trucks like cement mixers, according to its website. Students in the Class B courses will also have the opportunity to receive their passenger and school bus endorsements.
“Pretty much we’re covering everything — covering the gamut — with the program,” Kaufman said. “Farmington has had great success with their program ... They’ve been trying to get this program off the ground for years in Taos.”
Kaufman said the cost to pursue a Class A license is $4,000, which is “consistent with the market.” He said students who sign with a trucking company typically are typically reimbursed for the cost.
He said students will have two scheduling options for pursuing Class A licenses: week days from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for four weeks, or 10-hour days on Saturdays and Sundays for eight weeks.
Kaufman said Class B training likely won’t be offered until May, but entities including Taos Pueblo and the village of Angel Fire have already expressed interest in the program.
He said besides the training, obtaining a CDL involves other “significant requirements,” such as a physical, drug screening and a background check, but commercial driving offers good opportunities for employment for those who enjoy being on the road.
“It’s really a lifestyle issue,” Kaufman said.