Charles Trezevant, an Eau Claire high school student, is already reaping the rewards of obtaining his commercial apprentice’s permit (CLP). He landed a job as an intern at the City of Columbia Wastewater Management Plant.
Trezevant is the third student in the Richland One Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) program to earn a CLP since the program’s inception in 2019. He joins Justin Johnson, who graduated in 2020, and senior Javarion Canzater, who has obtained his CLP in the fall. Johnson has since received a diesel mechanic certification, earned his CDL, and landed a job as a mechanic. This is precisely the path Trezevant has said he wants to take as he completes his third year in the program.
“My next goal is to train and get my CDL,” Trezevant said. “The internship puts me on the fast track to getting my CDL since the city of Columbia offers free CDL training.”
In its inception, Richland One’s CDL program, established in partnership with the South Carolina Trucking Association, was the first of its kind in the state and third in the nation. There are now three high school CDL training programs statewide and six nationally.
Augustin Wigfall, the CDL instructor/coach at Eau Claire High School where the program is housed, said the program’s level of success lies in its ability to attract motivated students to meet industry demands for CDL holders.
“Everyone who received their CLP did it differently. All of them have been unique,” Wigfall said. “Like the others, Trezevant had also decided to obtain his CLP before the start of this school year.”
The CDL program provides students with career information and helps them develop personal plans to achieve their goals. Students also learn the skills they need to drive on public roads, personal and job requirements, and safety. Workplace learning experiences include job shadowing, apprenticeships, and other cooperative education opportunities. In the classroom, students are tested on general knowledge, air brakes and overalls. They must be 18 years or older and hold a valid Class D driver’s license before they can apply for CLP.
Enrollment in the program has increased from 31 students in 2019 to 45 students this year.
For more information about the Richland One Commercial Driver’s License Program, contact Eau Claire High School at 803-735-7600.