On May 22, Eastern Iowa Community Colleges (EICC) celebrated the expansion of its Commercial Driver's License (CDL) program to the Muscatine Community College (MCC) campus. The event, held in front of a brand-new Great Dane semi-trailer adorned with EICC logos and images, marked a significant milestone for both the college and the community. 

Approximately 40 attendees, including EICC faculty, staff, local legislators, members of the Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce, and the public, gathered on the new DOT-approved training range. This range, along with four new tractor-trailer combinations and the expansion of Scott Community College’s truck driving program, was made possible by a $797,000 grant from Iowa Workforce Development and an additional $500,000 investment from EICC. 

Lindsey Trumbull, Membership & Community Development Coordinator for the Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry, kicked off the ceremony, highlighting the importance of such initiatives in fostering community development and economic growth. 

Naomi DeWinter, President of MCC, highlighted the impact of the new program on the local community. "The vision of Eastern Iowa Community Colleges is to change lives and build communities. What we are celebrating today is another addition to the Muscatine community that does just that, through access to a short-term training program in a high-demand field." 

The expansion of the CDL program to MCC is set to meet the rising demand for CDL-trained professionals. Starting this summer, the new DOT-approved training range at MCC will be operational, with classes beginning on June 1. Students will gain hands-on experience behind the wheel of tractor-trailers equipped with modern Electronic Logging Devices. 

Michelle Almandinger, Board Chair of the Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and David Riggan from TanTara Transportation, also spoke to the crowd, expressing excitement about the program’s potential to bolster the local workforce and support regional businesses. 

"In 2020, our industry was thrust into the spotlight, highlighting the crucial role of truck drivers," Riggan explained. "This recognition allowed us to increase our rates and, in turn, raise wages. At TanTara, most of our truck drivers now earn between $80,000 and $115,000." 

Tom Monroe, CDL - Truck Driving Program Manager at EICC, emphasized the program's commitment to safety and student success. "The CDL program at EICC has come a long way in its 50 years. We have a mission in training our drivers. We won’t put anyone out on the road unless we can go home and sleep at night, believing that they are going to be safe out there." 

As the ribbon was cut, applause erupted, signaling a new chapter for MCC and EICC. The event was more than a celebration of new facilities; it was a testament to the community’s commitment to providing valuable opportunities and fostering economic growth through quality education and training. 

About EICC’s Truck Driving Program 

EICC offers comprehensive CDL training programs that prepare students for the CDL A test in just seven weeks. The curriculum includes online learning, in-person classes, and over-the-road instruction, ensuring graduates are well-prepared for their careers. 

For more information, visit eicc.edu/truckdriving.