DIMOCK TOWNSHIP, SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Commercially licensed drivers are needed to fill jobs across the country and in northeastern Pennsylvania. To fill that need, the Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center started its first day and night class two weeks ago. In all, 14 students have joined the program.

Students work to get their Commercial Driver’s License through the CDL Training Center at Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center.

“It’s just a total career change,” Frederick Shiptoski of New Milford told Eyewitness News. “I was a mechanic and I just, this is something that I want to change.”

Over the course of a five-week period, Shiptoski and his classmates will have to figure out what type of rig they will want to drive. Their choices include everything from working for natural gas companies to hauling for Meshoppen Stone or freight.

“There was a shortage even before the coronavirus came in,” Alice Davis, Executive Director for Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center told Eyewitness News. “Now more than ever they need the drivers to transport the products.”

Davis says the program is industry driven. It can accept 12 students per class. Tuition is set at $6,000 which covers everything leading up to licensing.

“The day course is five weeks and the night is 10 and we’re going to run it continuously right straight through,” Davis said.

One week ago, Cabot Oil and Gas donated a $100,000 simulator for students to practice on. It offers real-life scenarios that students may not be exposed to during training.

“Everything from driving in snowy weather and serious rain conditions, to mimicking city environments,” said Bill Desorosiers, External Affairs Manager at Cabot Oil and Gas.

Students can even practice overcoming road predicaments like having a flat tire. Shiptoski was among those giving the investment a try.

The CDL class will offer all you need to know to pass the state licensing test including electronic log booking. The center is currently accepting applications for those interested in the program.