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STUDENT PROFILE: Third Richland One CDL Student Earns Learner’s Permit and Internship with City of Columbia

Charles TrezevantEau Claire High School senior Charles Trezevant is already reaping the benefits of having earned his Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP). He’s landed a spot as an intern with the City of Columbia’s Wastewater Management Plant.

Trezevant is the third student from the Richland One Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Program to earn a CLP since the program’s inception in 2019. He joins Justin Johnson, who graduated in 2020, and senior Javarion Canzater, who earned his CLP in the fall. Johnson has since received a diesel mechanic certification, obtained his CDL and gained employment as a mechanic. That’s precisely the path Trezevant said he wants to take as he completes his third year in the program.

“My next goal is getting the training and obtaining my CDL,” said Trezevant. “[The internship] puts me on a fast track to get my CDL (since) the City of Columbia offers free CDL training.”

 He’s eligible to take the CDL test this week.

When it began, Richland One’s CDL program – established in partnership with the South Carolina Trucking Association – was the first of its kind in the state and third in the nation. Now there are three high school CDL training programs statewide and six nationwide.

Augustin Wigfall, the CDL instructor/coach at Eau Claire High School where the program is housed, said the level of the program’s success is in its ability to attract motivated students to meet industry demands for CDL holders.

“All who have received their CLP have done it differently. All have been unique,” said Wigfall. “[Like the others,] Mr. Trezevant also had his mind made up to obtain his CLP before this school year began.”

The CDL program provides students with career information and assists them with developing personal plans to achieve their goals. Students also learn about the skills they need to drive on public roads, personal and professional requirements and safety. Work-based learning experiences include job shadowing, apprenticeships and other cooperative education opportunities. In the class, students are tested on general knowledge, air brakes and combinations. They must be 18 years or older and hold a valid Class D driver’s license before they can apply for the CLP.

The program’s enrollment has grown from 31 students in 2019 to 45 students this year, and Wigfall said he expects even greater numbers next year.

For more information about Richland One’s Commercial Driver’s License Program, contact Eau Claire High School at (803) 735-7600 or email Augustin Wigfall at augustin.wigfall@richlandone.org.