Facebook pixel Celebrating Your Community's College, Part Three

Celebrating Your Community's College, Part Three

A special series presented by St. Louis Community College

For the past 60 years, St. Louis Community College has been an integral part of the place we call home. With 50% of all households in the St. Louis area having a student or alum who attended the College, there is no denying that STLCC has ties to virtually every family, business and organization in the region. 

April is Community College Month, and this year’s theme is “Celebrating Your Community’s College.” This month we will highlight those on our campuses who have made the College a central part of their lives and have truly become a part of the STLCC community. Read the third story below and check out the others here; a new story will publish each Thursday.

Mother and Son Team up to Provide a Fundamental Piece of Community


STLCC semitruck

Joy Edwards noticed the semitrucks emblazed with the St. Louis Community College logo in the far edges of the Forest Park campus while attending the College to become a dental hygienist a few years ago.

She had never thought about it before, but it piqued her interest. She taught high school science for several years and held a few other jobs as an adult. But Edwards, 59, went back to school to find a profession that would provide for her and that she’d enjoy during this period of her life.

The dental hygiene route didn’t feel like a great fit and what was happening in Parking Lot F lingered in her mind.

“I saw the truck and I thought ‘If this doesn’t work out, I could always try truck driving,’” she said. “I heard that there’s good money in it.”

A 2019 graduate of the STLCC professional truck driving program, Edwards has settled into her career. She recently took a job that puts her in the same truck as her son, Reiner, who finished the truck driving program in October.

The mother-son team start their week with a trip to Muskogee, Oklahoma. After returning to St. Louis, they head to Texas for the latter part of the week. They’ve been driving together for about a month and have settled into the routine.

Reiner also had past careers before getting into the truck. He worked as a mechanic and in information technology. But neither brought him the stability or happiness he craved. His mom nudged him toward driving. 

“She thought it would be a decent fit for me,” he said. “She was right. I enjoy it. I’ve done a whole lot more work for a whole lot less money, I’ll tell you that much.”

Both Joy and Reiner enjoy driving for multiple reasons. It’s predictable with the routine of driving the same route. There’s a certain amount of autonomy because the boss isn’t looking over their shoulders. It has allowed them to see different parts of the country than they had seen before. And, yes, the money is stable.

There’s another, more altruistic, reason. It might not be something they think about on every haul but it’s something in which they take great pride. They’re helping their community.

“You’re one of the most fundamental parts of infrastructure, whether it’s driving a concrete mixing truck for roads, delivering food or high-value hauls like medical supplies,” Reiner said while sitting in his truck on a break. “Every store that you see gets its stuff from a truck.

“There’s very few commodities that you can purchase that didn’t make it in the back of one of these.”

Rene Dulle, senior program manager, said the truck driving program touches the surrounding area in more ways than most people would think. The obvious is the hauling of goods from one place to another to keep the supply chain moving.

Joy and Reiner Edwards

But STLCC contracts with multiple agencies to teach their drivers so they can serve the community.

“We provide CDL training for Missouri Department of Transportation,” she said. “Those people are then able to go out and serve our community in multiple ways: They fill potholes, remove snow and, in general, keep our roads safe.”

The College also works with American Water and the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District to train their employees.

It’s not lost on Joy what her work as a driver does for her neighbors and people throughout the community.

“Being part of helping everyone out by getting things where they need to be is really important,” she said. “I know a lot of people go to the grocery store and take it for granted that the chicken is going to be there, or the Halloween outfit is going to be in the store.

“It doesn’t accidently just show up. It’s nice that my community college could train me for that.”

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