Cloquet proud to offer first CDL course for high school students

[anvplayer video=”5192936″ station=”998130″]

An Upper Lakes Foods truck stopped at Cloquet High School on Wednesday. But not to deliver food.

The truck visit was part of the new CDL program offered at the high school. Students had the chance to check out the rig for the first time on Wednesday.

Upper Lakes Foods helped get the class going at Cloquet. “We were very fortunate that Upper Lakes was able to come on board and help train me, and now I can take my training and pass it on to the students,” shared Bret Gunderson, one of the CDL instructors.

Luke Olin, the Director of Transportation for the company, said, “We are always looking for good people, and we need good people to grow. There are more people retiring with CDLs than there are people entering the workforce. So this is truly going to be a great collaboration for us.”

It is for seniors only, and when they are finished, they will have the training they need to take the CDL written test.

“To our knowledge, we are the first high school in the state that’s actually training students in ELDT, entry level drivers training. It’s the classroom portion of the CDL. We are at the forefront of doing it,” explained Tim Prosen, the Assistant Principal who is also co-teaching the class. He has his CDL, and drove truck before he was an educator.

Students are excited about the opportunity.

Torrie Lane’s family is fully into transportation. So this was a no-brainer. “I didn’t even blink an eye. Obviously my parents are excited about it,” she said.

Another student, Warren Heitala, added that he’s been working construction in the summers. “This will be the ace in my hand, if I’m the job site, and my boss needs me to bring equipment somewhere. And it might mean an increase in my salary.”

Cloquet has also expanded their Career and Tech Ed areas.

WDIO checked out the Fab Lab first, where there are 3D printers, a UV printer, and now a screen printer.

Michelle Wick, the Career and Tech Ed Coordinator, said that they make all kinds of things for the school, like signs and trophies.

“Students realize what they want to do, and even take CAD programming after they take our courses. Or they go into the trades. It’s really setting them up for success in their future,” she said.

The advanced Construction Careers class even built a sauna last year, which will soon be up for sale.