Natural Gas Students Simultaneously Pursuing CDL Certifications

Lackawanna College School of Petroleum and Natural Gas students (from left) Victor Kanuik, Bobby Berta, Thomas Evans, and (not pictured) Amadou Bah are the first to take advantage of a new partnership between the School and the Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center to obtain a Class B CDL certification along with their two-year degrees.

The Lackawanna College School of Petroleum & Natural Gas (PNG) in Tunkhannock has recently partnered with the Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center (SCCTC) to provide students an opportunity to simultaneously pursue a Class B Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). The endeavor is seen as a way to increase the experience of the PNG curriculum and value of the students when hired into the energy industry. Four students are part of a pilot program started in early April.

I’m excited for our PNG students,” said LC PNG program director Sue Gumble. “Not only will they graduate with an in-demand degree and various industry certifications, but they also now have an opportunity to acquire a Class B license, which makes them stand out to an industry looking to hire multi-functional and highly skilled employees,” Gumble stated.

According to SCCTC acting assistant director John Gazzillo, there are four phases to the Class B CDL program, starting with students garnering general CDL knowledge in a classroom setting prior to obtaining a permit at a local DMV center.

Once the permit is issued, the student will spend time practicing straight line backing, offset backing, parallel parking and manual shifting,” Gazzillo related. “This will be done on our CDL pad and on our CDL driving simulator.”

After learning these skills, students will transition to on-road training that will include practice on two different routes that prepare student drivers for a variety of hazards, including railroad crossings and other components as prescribed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which updated its standards in February.

Participation in this program is voluntarily for PNG students who have to be committed to making the extra time to complete the CDL course. “This will be an accelerated course,” SCCTC CDL instructor Dale Fisher explained. “They’re going to have to do some studying on their own. We’re trying not to tie them up in the classroom, because they are still full-time students at LC PNG, and some of them also have jobs,” Fisher remarked further, “But it’s a tremendous perk for them. Whether they stay in the gas business or not, they still have a Class B license that’s good anywhere in the country.”

The first four students to take advantage of the partnership are Bobby Berta of Jessup, Thomas Evans of Edwardsville, Victor Kanuik of Dalton, and Amadou Bah of New York. Each is looking forward to employment in the industry upon graduation in May and expressed gratitude for the opportunity to be part of this pilot program.

Their willingness to better prepare and train us is greatly appreciated,” said Bobby. “I feel that this will increase and broaden my spectrum of ability to work and perform tasks within the gas industry.”

I think this CDL and the extra certifications offered by LC can open many doors for me and future students,” Victor concurred. “I think it will give me the upper hand on my resume and can increase the possibilities in my career.”

Funding for this pilot program came from the schools and a grant by the Sordoni Family Foundation. The Foundation support is part of a larger grant to the CDL Training Center to assist students with out-of-pocket expenses to go through the program.

Given the importance of trucking and qualified truck drivers to our economy and overall quality of life, the Sordoni Family Foundation is excited to provide our support to provide opportunities for Pennsylvania students to attend the course and obtain their certifications,” Foundation board member Bill Sordoni stated. “We believe the program will greatly enhance the viability of these important positions, provide our state with much-needed trucking services and continue to grow our economy.”

All parties involved are reviewing options for future funding of the LC PNG CDL program. To learn more about SCCTC CDL program, interested readers can log on to More information about the PNG program at the Tunkhannock Center can be found at

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