Train more truckers for the road

CANTON, New York (WWNY) — As the country faces a shortage of truck drivers, a few groups in St. Lawrence County are banding together to put more people in the seats of 18-wheelers.

You wouldn’t expect it, but Ryan Harrigan was born to teach drivers. Literally.

“I grew up in a driving school. My father owned a driving school. My parents owned a driving school,” he said.

Now the driving school is part of SUNY Canton and Harrigan is the lead instructor. It helps people get their Certified Drivers License or CDL.

Ryan Patterson is training to be able to drive the truck. Her test is in 3 weeks and says Harrigan’s lessons are thorough.

“It does a lot more than expected in the test drive. You know he gives us more information than we need and I think that’s great,” Patterson said.

Getting your CDL can cost thousands of dollars. This is one of the reasons fewer people are trying to get a license.

This program is funded with the help of the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency and money from the county’s US bailout. It lasts six to eight weeks. Students spend more than 40 hours behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler.

“It’s very important that the CDLA program helps individuals get certified, it helps companies find drivers, and it’s really a great example of local resource combining and cooperation,” said Patrick Kelly, CEO of St. Lawrence County IDA.

Teaching the rules of the road at a time when the country is facing a shortage of truckers.