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Press Release                                                                                                                                                   
October 24, 2023

(By Lisa Garrett)

CDL Certification Changes Henry Johnson’s Life

PENDLETON --- There are times when Henry Johnson still has to stop, take a breath and express gratitude for the new life he built for himself and his family over the past few years.

“It’s hard to believe that a 10-week course can change your life but it did,” said Johnson, who completed the Commercial Driver License (CDL) course through Tri-County Technical College’s (TCTC) Corporate and Community Education Division (CCE) and began his new venture as a self-employed truck driver and owner of J7 Logistics.   

Just three years ago, Johnson, who had worked in a variety of jobs all of his life, began looking for a change. He said he found his new beginning when he entered TCTC’s CDL class at no cost thanks to a state-supported  workforce scholarship.

His cousin had completed CDL training and talked about the great career opportunity. While working a full-time job, Johnson enrolled in the evening CDL class which met four nights a week. During that time, Johnson lost his job. “This class was my doorway to financial freedom.  I was looking to rebuild my life.” 

Earlier in his life, a bad decision had led to a one-and-one-half year incarceration for Johnson. When released, instead of being bitter, Johnson said he saw a higher purpose. “Now I am led to share my testimony and to reach people who want to re-evaluate their lives like I did,” said Johnson, who is an elder in his church, New Birth Outreach Ministries. “I couldn’t see it then but I can see it now,” he said.

“In the past, I just had jobs. This is the best career ever,” said Johnson, who bought his truck, which is paid for, and built his own home. “It feels good to plan and not worry about a paycheck, to be able to take care of my wife and seven children.” 

Johnson said there is a real demand for truck drivers. “I have a hat in my truck that reads, ‘If you bought it, a truck driver probably brought it.’ I wear it all the time,” he said.

There’s a freedom to being your own boss, he said. He credits the CCE team, especially Dr. Rick Cothran, dean of the division. “He is a mentor to me.  He inspired me to aim higher and to look at a better way. Everything is possible. He also taught me to reach out and inspire others.”

“Henry came us to looking to restart his life,” said Dr. Cothran. “CDL was a natural fit for him to grow and flourish. Once he got a vision of success, all bets were off.  The world is his opportunity.”

“Acquiring my CDL license was the leg up.  I thank God for the CDL program,” said Johnson.

About Tri-County Technical College

Tri-County Technical College, a public two-year community and technical college serving Anderson, Oconee and Pickens Counties in South Carolina, enrolls more than 9,000 students annually and offers more than 70 major fields of study, including computer technology, industrial electronics, mechatronics, nursing, and university transfer programs. Tri-County boasts the highest student success rate among two-year colleges in the state and ranks in the top one percent nationally for successful student transfers to four-year colleges and universities. To learn more, visit tctc.edu