PUBLISHED: 1:22 PM on Wednesday, October 5, 2005
Truck driving school receives national certification

Photo by Amanda Gragert
  John Lewis sits in the passenger seat while he instructs Brent Caryof Sitka how to perform brake checks on a truck.
The Vocational Training and Resource Center of Juneau is stepping it up a notch with the recent certification of its commercial drivers license Class A driver training courses.

The courses are certified by the Professional Truck Driver Institute, a national, nonprofit organization.

Archie Cavanaugh, VTRC director, said the certification makes the training center a national truck driving school.

"The primary benefit is it's a national certification, and it's the only one in Southeast Alaska," Cavanaugh said.

"The PTDI process has made us a more credible training program."

Cost for the Class A course is about $5,500, Cavanaugh said.

Cavanaugh said one requirement of the center is to find employment for students who have completed the program.

"About 90 percent of the people who take our classes are immediately put into positions, usually within the southeast region," Cavanaugh said.

While the current classes are full, Cavanaugh said the next class will begin Dec. 5 and will last through January.

The school previously offered a tutorial CDL training class but, Cavanaugh said they wanted to expand students' skills and make them more marketable. The school has since increased students' hours on the road and added certified Hazwoper training in the transportation and handling of hazardous materials to its program.

John Lewis, CDL Instructor is the certified Hazwoper instructor, and Greg Blanchfield is the CDL B instructor.

"PTDI makes us better instructors and administrators, it helps us provide safer and better skilled drivers, and for that we're very appreciative," Cavanaugh said.

Although he called the process "agonizing at times," because of the stringent requirements, "in the end, it made us a more effective and proficient operation than we ever were."

The VTRC is a State of Alaska authorized postsecondary institution operated by the Central Council of Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. Although the VTRC focuses training for Alaska Natives it holds an open admissions policy for students of any race, creed, color and national or ethnic origin.

For information, go online to or call 463-7375.