Pohanka helping Wor-Wic train drivers

Pohanka Auto Group and Wor-Wic Community College have teamed up to offer driver education classes.

Pohanka Auto Group and Wor-Wic Community College have teamed up to offer driver education classes.

Wor-Wic Community College will offer driver’s education beginning Jan. 5, making the college one of only a handful statewide that includes it in the curriculum.

“It’s very exciting for us. There are about five other community colleges in Maryland that offer it. Some partner with a local driving school,” explained Lee Ann Gunning, director of continuing education and workforce development, who oversees the program.

Tuition assistance is also being made available for those who can’t afford the $300 cost.

“Financial aid is offered on a sliding scale. Depending on financial need, students could be eligible for $50 to $250 in tuition assistance. Those who don’t meet financial aid eligibility requirements will pay $300, which is the market rate charged by other local providers,” said Ruth E. Baker, dean of continuing education and workforce development.

Wor-Wic is the only area driver education provider that offers financial aid, she said.

Gunning said the idea to offer driver’s education was conceived when Dr. Ray Hoy, president of Wor-Wic, at a Visioning Committee meeting, talked to Sandy Fitzgerald-Angello, vice president and dealer operator of Pohanka. She told him many local residents don’t have driver’s licenses, and some illegally drive to work unlicensed, or don’t work because they can’t drive.

For student use, Fitzgerald-Angello donated two new Nissan cars, a Sentra and a Versa, with two-year leases, a $37,000 investment that Hoy praised.

Gunning said becoming certified to offer the course was a long, detailed process.

“It takes quite a bit to get the certification,” she said.

Wor-Wic had to apply, and a Maryland Vehicle Administration official went to the college to inspect. Gunning was required to study for, and complete, and exam on MVA regulations. Wor-Wic was certified in October.

Driver’s ed will be taught in 10, three-hour classes, plus six hours in the car with a certified instructor.

Sessions will be Monday to Friday, Jan. 5 to 16, from 5:30 to 8:45 p.m., or Tuesdays and Thursdays, Jan. 6 to Feb. 5, from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

To register or apply for financial assistance, call 410-334-2815.

Contact Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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