Pace and South Suburban College Celebrate Free CDL Program Partnership

SOUTH HOLLAND, IL – Students and officials gathered at South Suburban College (SSC) to celebrate the successful partnership between Pace and SSC that helps find, train, and employ the next generation of professional bus operators. The partnership provides students with a customized two-week commercial driver’s license (CDL) course that allows them to obtain their CDL permit and start their career as professional bus operators. Five classes have already graduated, and 17 students are now working at Pace.

This partnership provides a pathway to meaningful careers in public transportation. Pace removes financial barriers for students by covering the costs of tuition and other expenses associated with the Class “B” CDL permit course at SSC.

SSC President Dr. Lynette D. Stokes opened the program and welcomed guests. “Through our impactful partnership with Pace, we’re not just training bus operators; we’re forging paths to meaningful careers in public transportation. This collaboration removes financial barriers, empowering individuals to pursue their professional journey as bus operators. Together, we’re shaping a future where opportunities are created.”

Pace Director and SSC Chairman Terry R. Wells was next to speak. “I proudly serve as Chairman of South Suburban College and, just as proudly, represent south suburban Cook County on Pace’s Board of Directors,” he said. “It is very fulfilling to see these two organizations partner to provide access to education and employment for our communities.” Wells welcomed Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Director of Intermodal Project Implementation, Jason Osborn, who said, “This program is a great example of institutions working together to provide the training needed for good paying jobs. The graduates of this program not only qualify to be bus drivers for Pace but also have doors opened for them for jobs at IDOT. Congratulations to the graduates on behalf of IDOT.”

Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) Board Member Michael Lewis was also present to congratulate graduates before Pace Executive Director Melinda Metzger concluded the program by presenting students with certificates to mark their completion of the program. “Partnerships, especially with institutions like South Suburban College, are instrumental to further enhancing Pace’s recruitment efforts. Coming on board as a professional bus operator with Pace provides a career path with opportunity for growth, excellent health, retirement, and vacation benefits, and allows those with a passion for public service to give back to their community. And in turn, Pace can operate a transit system that is safe, modern, and accessible to all.”

Other guests included RTA Board Member Elizabeth “Liz” Doody Gorman, SSC Trustee Dr. Sherelene Harris, and SSC Trustee Kevin Daly. Pace offers careers for people who are passionate about public service. Becoming a Pace bus operator can lead to further advancement with opportunities to move into dispatch, safety, and administrative positions. Those seeking employment are encouraged to learn more at

SSC will host two upcoming PACE recruitment events on February 22, 2024, and March 21, 2024. Classes for these sessions are set to commence on March 11th and April 15th, providing an opportunity for students to embark on their educational journey with PACE. For more information on Pace Bus Program please contact Gervais Edwards, or call (708) 596-2000, ext. 5723.

Pace Suburban Bus safely and efficiently moves people to work, school, and other regional destinations with its family of public transportation services. Pace offers affordable and environmentally responsible transit options for the residents of 272 municipalities in Cook, Will, DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties. The backbone of Chicago’s suburbs, Pace serves tens of thousands of daily riders. One of the largest bus services in North America, Pace covers 3,677 square miles, an area nearly the size of the state of Connecticut and about 15 times the size of the City of Chicago. Pace’s innovative approach to public transportation gives the agency a national reputation as an industry leader.

South Suburban College (SSC) is a public community college located in South Holland, Illinois, with an additional campus in Oak Forest. Offering a diverse array of over 100 program options, SSC provides career education, college transfer credit programs, non-credit customized training, and an array of special interest programs.

Pace and South Suburban College CDL Program graduates with Pace, RTA, and SSC leadership.

Pictured: Pace and South Suburban College CDL Program graduates with Pace, RTA, and SSC leadership.