Submitted photo and press release:
Hard working and motivated are just two of the words that instructors used to describe Jay Lewis, who recently earned a Class B commercial driver's license through an Adult Education program of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership.
A 2019 graduate of Genesee Community College (GCC) and 2017 graduate of Batavia City Schools (he graduated from high school at the age of 16), Lewis completed this CDL training while attending college full time.
Though this is no small feat, Lewis is modest about this accomplishment.
“I work part time at Torrey Farms, my cousin’s farm in Elba, and I knew that they needed drivers for their hay trucks, so I knew that it would be helpful to them if I earned my CDL license," Lewis said. "I thought that if I got this license, these skills could also help me to be more marketable in the future."
The 30-Hour CDL Class B License training course was a lesson in time management for Lewis.
“I’m grateful that the instructors were flexible with scheduling my coursework because I was able to fit this into my schedule of GCC classes,” Lewis said.
“The instructors were thorough and detailed," he said."Besides the specific training for this CDL Class B license, I learned so much about being a safe and aware driver, which is valuable training that any driver can apply."
Art Keicher is a CDL instructor for Adult Education at the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, a position he’s held for 23 years. He described Lewis as a solid student and also explained how the CDL Program is structured.
“Jay was a terrific student; he was eager to learn, always on time and very responsible," Keicher said. "He will be a great driver. We offer full- and part-time programs. The goal is to offer CDL instructional programs that work for everyone.
"So many people in this day and age change careers. We aim to meet the needs of our customers by being as flexible as possible so we can create a plan that works for everyone. That’s what trucking is all about."
The training includes one-to-one instructor-to-student training ratio, field training for highway, rural and city driving including day and nighttime traffic conditions. Defensive driving, backing, emergency procedures and safety are emphasized. Keicher noted the many opportunities available in this field.
“This is a great occupation!" Keicher said. "Where else can you invest six weeks of training and start in a career making between $40-45,000 per year? We see people who were financially struggling before they begin the training and after they completed the training, they now own a trucking company."
Lewis currently attends Rochester Institute of Technology, where he is studying Mechanical Engineering Technology. He continues to work part time at Torrey Farms.
The Genesee Valley Educational Partnership offers four different driving training programs including: two Class A License courses; a Class B course; and a School Bus Driver 42-Hour Program.
For more information about any of these Commercial Driver’s License Programs or any Adult Education Program, contact (585) 344-7704.
Top photo: Art Keicher, CDL Instructor, watches as Jay Lewis completes a tire check before operating a dump truck.