SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Some major Spartanburg County departments are in need of drivers. The county is hosting its own Commercial Driver’s License, CDL, training to get more drivers behind the wheel.

County officials said this first in-house training not only saves taxpayer dollars, but time, which means people get the services they need a whole lot faster now.

Due to a lack of the drivers, the Roads and Bridges and Solid Waste departments have been impacted.

“When we don’t have drivers, the people that come off the street, we hire them new, they don’t have license. So, the only license operators we got are heavy license operators,” said Johnny Ravan, manager for the county’s Roads and Bridges department

Currently, those trained are having to do multiple jobs.

“So, if he’s out there running a piece of heavy equipment, loading a dump truck, then if I don’t have a driver for the dump truck, he’s got to shut down the machine, get in the dump truck and go do everything,” said Ravan.

Ravan said because of a mandate in 2022, they now have to train their own employees or pay for their training. He said it takes around $4,000-$10,000 to pay for one person’s training.

By having their own, it saves money.

“Our main goal is to save taxpayer’s money and to do things as efficiently as we can,” he said.

Trainees, like Sam Gibson, go through 6 to 8 weeks of training.

“We’re going over our pre-trip and we’re starting to do our skills test, which consists of three different maneuvers in the vehicle, learning all the different parts of the vehicle,” he said.

He said getting to know the vehicle can be challenging.

“Driving is a little bit tougher than I thought it would be too, so I’m trying to get used to it,” said Gibson.

Many hands make light work and Gibson said the more people they have, the better.

“Whoever has had their CDL, Class A’s, and have had to move equipment around, it will help that there are more people to split up the workload,” said the trainee.

Roads and Bridges still have 12 more positions to fill, which they hope to do soon to finish county projects.

“When you shut a road down, people want it open as soon as possible. So, we want to get the road open back up as soon as possible,” said Ravan. “So, this does speed up production by having our own CDL drivers and our own CDL drivers training.”

The county is planning on having three trainings a year, with the next training being in March of 2024.

The training is only for county employees, it is not open to the public.