Drivers who are interested in getting a special license to drive trucks and busses will soon be able to obtain one at Niagara County Community College.
Niagara County officials debuted the new Commercial Drivers License (CDL) road test center Tuesday morning.
Niagara County Clerk Joseph Jastrzemski said the push to open a CDL testing site was driven by more than convenience -- the site will help meet the needs of the growing economy.
"We expect that, in an economy where so much retail is done online, there will be more and more need for delivery drivers, long haul, things like that," Jastrzemski said. "We want to help our local residents find those jobs—which often are good-paying—or go into the transportation business themselves."
One employer with immediate openings for employees with CDL licenses is the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA). The authority currently has 32 vacancies it is looking to fill.
"We run classes every eight weeks and we will train for the CDL," said Chris Antholzner, the NFTA's Manager of Bus and Special Service Operations. "If someone comes in with a CDL permit we'll actually train them and they can take the test on one of our busses."
A 2017 report from the American Trucking Association estimates the need for CDL drivers will only continue to grow. In fact, it predicts companies will have to hire nearly 900,000 drivers over the next ten years in order to keep up with industry demand.
The new CDL testing site is located at Niagara County Community College, 3111 Saunders Settlement Road in Sanborn.