Johnathen Diaz, James Hamm, and Louis Smith, CMVOST Grant Recipients

Fox 43 Photojournalist Nick Vitto recently visited the YCST Motor Vehicle Academy to learn more about the Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Safety Training (CMVOST) grant. This competitive grant, which the School has received for the past three years, is one of only 21 such grants awarded in the United States.  The CMVOST grant enables the Adult & Continuing Education Center at YCST to offer free commercial truck driver training to current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including National Guard and Reservists, as well as their eligible spouses and children. The grant covers full tuition for the training program.

Motor Vehicle Academy Alumni Louis Smith put his new skills to the test by taking Fox 43 along for a ride. Smith, an Army veteran, drove tanks and pulled trailers during this time in the military, but said that being on the road in an 18-wheeler is fun.

James Hamm, a Navy veteran, commented that people often feel nervous when seeing a big rig out on the road, but said that driving one is just “driving on a much larger scale.” 

As far as the YCST Commercial Truck Driving program itself, “the instructors are great, patient, if you don’t know how to drive manual they will teach you,” said Johnathen Diaz, Army veteran and current CDL student. “Take your time. Very professional and they know what they’re talking about. You just got to listen and do as they say.”

Director of Adult and Continuing Education Center Kirk Schlotzhauer said veterans are a good choice for the program because of their experience. “Our veterans that come through here do very well,” said Schlotzhauer. “They’re very disciplined, they’re very focused, we never have any attendance issues, they’re probably some of the few students that will give us 100% attendance rate, they’re highly committed to learning a new trade and getting out there in a career that’ll start at entry-level upwards of $50,000 a year.”

If you’re a Veteran interested in obtaining free Commercial Driver’s License training, contact Tiffany Graham at (717) 747-2130 ext. 5512. Training classes begin monthly.