St. Lawrence County River Valley Redevelopment Agency and IDA Secure Semi-Truck for SUNY Canton


SUNY Canton has added a red semi-tractor-trailer truck to the college’s fleet of vehicles.

The 2013 Freightliner Cascadia 125 will be used for the commercial driver’s license (CDL) training program. Students will learn to drive the big rig, which sports a 410 horsepower Detroit diesel engine and a 10-speed manual transmission, through the surrounding communities in preparation for new career opportunities.

Patrick Kelly, Rebecca Blackmon, President Zvi Szafran and Provost Peggy DeCooke pose in front of the College's new red truck for CDL training.

TRUCK ACQUISITION – Pictured (l to r) are St. Lawrence County IDA CEO Patrick J. Kelly, SUNY Canton Administrative Assistant Rebecca L. Blackmon from the Career Ready Education and Success Training Center, SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran, and Provost Peggy A. De Cooke standing with the college’s new semi-tractor-trailer used in the college’s commercial driver’s license training program.

“Our newest and largest vehicle will be used to train drivers in our commercial driver’s license program for open positions right here in the north country,” said SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran. “This assists with our continuing workforce development outreach and strengthens our bond with the companies looking to hire to fill high demand positions.”

The Freightliner was primarily paid for through a St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency grant administered by the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) for the SUNY Canton Career Ready Education and Success Training (CREST) Center.

“We’ve identified an immediate need for qualified delivery drivers in the area,” said St. Lawrence County IDA CEO Patrick J. Kelly, who attended a demo of the truck after it was delivered to SUNY Canton. “This investment supports the continuing growth of local companies and helps strengthen our overall economy. We are thrilled that SUNY Canton and the CREST Center have taken so much initiative and are offering this important training locally.”

Kelly added that the USDA and Workforce Development Institute have provided training funds to support the early stages of the program and that Pepsi-Cola Ogdensburg Bottlers, Inc., donated the trailer used by the program.

Ryan Harrigan sits in the new red Freightliner truck.

CDL TRAINER – Driving instructor Ryan J. Harrigan teaches in the SUNY Canton commercial driver’s license training program. Harrigan was the first person to drive the college’s brand-new Freightliner, which was purchased through a St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency grant administered by the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency.

The remainder of the semi-truck was paid for by the SUNY Canton College Association.

The CREST Center first began offering the CDL program in October 2019 with a leased truck. More than 24 students have enrolled in the training. The CREST Center will be able to run year-round training sessions with the new vehicle.

Local employers, including Renzi Foodservice in Watertown, are seeking qualified drivers for regional deliveries. Canton’s LeBerge and Curtis, Inc., has three individuals in the program. Another driver is slated to attend from Cazenovia Equipment Company, Inc., during an upcoming session.

One of the six-week trainings is currently underway at the college. Students participate in 10 hours of classroom learning held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays and spend 40 hours driving the truck. The next session is set to begin March 25 and is half full.

Tuition assistance is available through the New York State Department of Labor St. Lawrence County One-Stop Career Center and ACCES-VR. Veterans can apply their G.I. Bill benefits to pay for the training. More information about the program and registration information is available through the CREST website.


About SUNY Canton

Discover SUNY Canton, where innovation meets opportunity. The college’s career-focused educational programs emphasize hands-on and applied learning opportunities in digital design, engineering technology, health, information technology, management, public service, and veterinary technology. Faculty members bring real-world experience and exceptional academic expertise to the classroom. As a leader in online education, SUNY Canton offers unmatched flexibility with hundreds of courses and 23 comprehensive degree programs offered completely online. The SUNY Canton Kangaroos compete at the NCAA Division III level and will be transitioning to the SUNYAC in Fall 2024. In addition to its 15 traditional teams, SUNY Canton offers coed varsity esports and cheerleading.