Partnership brings CDL and certification program to Garden City

Seward County Community College President Brad Bennett (left) and Garden City Community College President Ryan Ruda sign the Memo of Understanding that will bring Seward’s CDL program to the Garden City area. (Photo courtesy of GCCC.)

Administrators from Seward County Community College visited Garden City Community College recently to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the institutions. The MOU provides a partnership for a Commercial Drivers License and Truck Driving certification program in Garden City. The program will be administered by SCCC with students taking classes at the GCCC campus.

The need for more truck drivers nationwide, especially in southwest Kansas, led to this
collaborative effort. GCCC President Ryan Ruda and SCCC President Brad Bennett agreed the
partnership is beneficial to everyone involved, allowing Seward County to grow its program
while providing Garden City with a much-needed service.

“Dr. Ruda and I are good friends and we partner on a lot of projects together,” Bennett said.
“They have a high demand for CDLs in that area and don’t have any interest in having a
program themselves because of the start-up costs. A lot presidents in Kansas believe if schools
do things well, let’s leverage those schools and that was our thought process.”

“This has been a conversation that has been ongoing,” Ruda said. “We’ve heard from our
industry partners there’s a need for CDL training. It was most important for us to figure out a
solution for how we can partner and address that need. We weren’t in a position to bring in a
new program.”

The new agreement will enable students living and working in Garden City and the surrounding
service area to remain in their geographic location and take CDL instruction through SCCC on
the GCCC campus. The hands-on training courses will be six weeks in duration and offered
throughout the calendar year. The first class in Garden City will begin Sept. 5.

Bennett and Ruda praised the partnership and believe more of these collaborative efforts to
benefit and maximize the community are needed.

“We’re excited to help out a partner school,” said Bennett. “It’s really cool when you think
about it. We are using our resources to the fullest extent and using state and taxpayer dollars in
the best manner that we can. It’s a great partnership.”

“When we have an opportunity to partner with a school that excels in an area like Seward does
in truck driving, the question is why (from GCCC’s perspective) should we start from scratch
when we can utilize those services,” said Ruda. “It’s a true partnership. This really is the way
education should be moving, finding new partnerships to address the needs within different

Within the CDL program, students learn vehicle equipment control, setup and inspections, basic
maneuvering and handling, over-the-road records management, and preventive maintenance.

With opportunities for both men and women to become truck drivers, the field is one of the
fastest job markets in the country. Students who successfully graduate do so with a full CDL
Class A License.

For more information or to enroll in the CDL and Truck Driving program, contact Candice Olson at
Seward County Community College at [email protected] or 620-417-1652.