Chemeketa Community College’s truck driving school prepares students to enter a competitive workforce with the knowledge and understanding needed to succeed in the transportation and logistics industry. The program is a four-week, (160-hour) non-credit training certificate that prepares drivers to learn the skills necessary to earn a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).


Willamette Workforce Partnership (WWP) funded this program through Future Ready Oregon grant funding aimed at expanding high-demand occupations for members of rural communities, people of color, women, individuals with disabilities and low-income individuals.

At the end of April 2023, 26 people successfully completed Chemeketa’s truck driver training, received their CDLs, and as a result, landed jobs or advanced in their current jobs. Seven people are still in training and will graduate in June. These numbers include people of color (Hispanic, Black/African American, Native American/Alaskan, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander), people with disabilities, women, LQBTQ+, and people from rural communities. This is an impressive return on investment for this funding!

The following two success stories exemplify the positive impact of Chemeketa’s CDL program.

From Bartending to Truck Driving – A Welcome Career Change

Nicholas Titular had been a bartender and bar manager for 20 years, and was feeling the toll of constantly being on his feet. He dreamed of a new career where he could make as much money and where he would be home on the weekends. Luckily, a friend told him about the CDL program he participated in at his local community college. Nicholas investigated CDL programs in the area and discovered the program at Chemeketa Community College.

He enrolled in the program in McMinnville and trained in Salem. The program provided him with over $6,000 in funds to pay for the program. He started on December 6, 2022, and graduated on January 5, 2023. As part of the program, he received his CDL on the last day of class.

Nicholas Titular

Nicholas started his full-time truck-driving job at Terrain Tamers on January 18, 2023. He had never driven a semi before and said, “The CDL class expertly prepared me for this job.

He loves his new career and is happy to be on the open road and by himself. He likes to drive and is particularly happy that he can be with his wife and children on the weekends. It has been 20 years since Nicholas has been able to spend most weekends at home. After a justice involved past, he turned his life around and has a family, owns a home, and is in a high paying career that affords him the life he dreamed of having.

Nicholas remarked, “I definitely recommend this program to other people. It helped me get ahead and will certainly help others.”

Truck Driving is Changing His Life!

Victor Morales was unemployed when he heard from his sister-in-law that Chemeketa was accepting applications to attend free CDL training. He had been working construction jobs but the work was spotty and slow. He immediately recognized a great opportunity – one that would prepare him with skills to enter a new career and life. If he had not received a grant for this training, he never would have been able to afford to attend.

Victor applied, and was accepted into the program. He started CDL training on November 3, 2022 and completed on December 3, 2022, the day he received his CDL. He proudly exclaimed, “I passed the first time!” According to Victor, he “…had no previous knowledge of trucks or how to drive them. I knew nothing on day one. My instructor, Patrick helped me learn all that I needed to be a successful truck driver.”

Upon graduation, he found it difficult to get a job because of his past driving record, and lack of truck driving experience. This did not stop him and he figured out a way to get some unpaid experience. His brother-in-law owns and drives a truck and Victor worked with him on the road for three months. During that time, he learned the practical aspects of driving a big rig and the rules of the road.

A little over two months ago, Victor learned that SPX Shippers (Shippers Preferred Express), located in Phoenix, Arizona, was hiring. He contacted them and was encouraged to apply in-person. He drove to Phoenix, met with the Safety Officer, took and passed a drug test and got the job! Since then he has been driving solo in 48 states. Although his home base is in Oregon and his family lives in California, he is thrilled to have this opportunity.

Victor Morales

Victor Morales

Victor especially likes being on the road and traveling to many different places. Last week he drove to Ohio, through Illinois and Wisconsin, and back to the West Coast. He likes the money too. Victor says, “It is hard work, but the money is good. I am away from home a lot, but this opportunity has put my family and me in a much better place. I am grateful to Chemeketa and Willamette Workforce Partnership for making this happen and recommend this program to others who want to change their lives.”

Congratulations to Nicholas and Victor and all graduates of Chemeketa’s CDL program!