TrainND at Williston State College now offers testing for its Commercial Driver’s License students in a Department of Transportation pilot program.
“The state DOT asked if we wanted to be a pilot site for third-party testing,” said Deanette Piesek, CEO of TrainND.
Last fall they met with the state DOT and started developing guidelines for the program. The testing program was launched about the first of the year, Piesek said. So far two classes of CDL students have gone through, she said.
Dennis Knudson, director of the Petroleum Safety and Technology Center at TrainND, is the certified third-party tester. He isn’t allowed to teach in the CDL program. He can only test for it.
Piesek said that TrainND at Williston State College is only permitted to test their own students. Anyone else interested in CDL testing must go through the normal channels with the DMV.
The CDL truck driver training program has been offered by TrainND for about four years, Piesek said. Six students are admitted to each class, which lasts 135 hours. Piesek said sometimes they can get through two classes in a month.
TrainND owns two trucks and may soon expand to three.
“Right now we’re pretty full with two trucks. We’re just kind of at the edge of needing a third truck,” Piesek said.
If a third truck is added, the program will admit nine students per class.
This is currently the only program permitted by the DOT to test its own students. Piesek said she expects the testing to be offered in other CDL training programs if the pilot program is successful.