Pace And South Suburban College Celebrate Free CDL Program Partnership

Pace and South Suburban College CDL Program graduates are shown with Pace, RTA, and SSC leadership. (Photo courtesy of Pace)

Students and officials recently gathered at South Suburban College (SSC) to celebrate the successful partnership between Pace Suburban Bus (Arlington Heights, IL) and SSC that helps find, train, and employ the next generation of professional bus operators. The partnership provides students with a customized two-week commercial driver’s license (CDL) course that allows them to obtain their CDL permit and start their career as professional bus operators. Five classes have already graduated, and 17 students are now working at Pace.

“This partnership provides a pathway to meaningful careers in public transportation. Pace removes financial barriers for students by covering the costs of tuition and other expenses associated with the Class ‘B’ CDL permit course at South Suburban College,” according to a press release.

SSC President Dr. Lynette D. Stokes opened the program and welcomed guests: “Through our impactful partnership with Pace, we’re not just training bus operators; we’re forging paths to meaningful careers in public transportation. This collaboration removes financial barriers, empowering individuals to pursue their professional journey as bus operators. Together, we’re shaping a future where opportunities are created.

Pace Director and SSC Chairman Terry R. Wells was next to speak: “I proudly serve as Chairman of South Suburban College and, just as proudly, represent south suburban Cook County (IL) on Pace’s Board of Directors. It is very fulfilling to see these two organizations partner to provide access to education and employment for our communities.”

Wells also welcomed Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Director of Intermodal Project Implementation, Jason Osborn, who said, “This program is a great example of institutions working together to provide the training needed for good paying jobs. The graduates of this program not only qualify to be bus drivers for Pace but also have doors opened for them for jobs at IDOT. Congratulations to the graduates on behalf of IDOT.”

RTA Board Member Michael Lewis was also present to congratulate graduates before Pace Executive Director Melinda Metzger concluded the program by presenting students with certificates to mark their completion of the program.

“Partnerships, especially with institutions like South Suburban College, are instrumental to further enhancing Pace’s recruitment efforts. Coming on board as a professional bus operator with Pace provides a career path with opportunity for growth, excellent health, retirement, and vacation benefits, and allows those with a passion for public service to give back to their community. And in turn, Pace can operate a transit system that is safe, modern, and accessible to all.”

Other guests included RTA Board Member Elizabeth “Liz” Doody Gorman, SCC Trustee Dr. Sherelene Harris, and SCC Trustee Kevin Daly.

“Pace offers careers for people who are passionate about public service. Becoming a Pace bus operator can lead to further advancement with opportunities to move into dispatch, safety, and administrative positions,” the release concluded.


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