46 North Driving School fills driver education need in Marquette County
Mary Moe and Lisa Cerasoli say their new driver ed school is already filling up classes quickly.
MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - TV6 is continuing its investigation into the driver education shortage in the U.P.
Mary Moe and Lisa Cerasoli are trying to fill the need for driver education instructors in Marquette County.
The duo co-founded 46 North Driving School in August and their goal is to teach students who were previously stuck on a waiting list elsewhere.
Moe said that besides 46 North, there are only three other driving schools in Marquette County.
“There is Bouchard’s Driving School, 906 Drive is from Escanaba but they have a teacher in Marquette County, then there is us and Negaunee High School,” Moe explained.
Moe expressed concern with the lack of driver education schools, adding, “The problem is, there are thousands of kids in Marquette County that need driving lessons.”
To get 46 North up and running, Moe and Cerasoli traveled from Marquette to Traverse City every weekend for nine weeks, from September to November 2022. During that time, they trained to become state-certified instructors.
“We spent five hours in a car and 24 hours together for about three days straight, so we really got to test our partnership but it worked out,” Moe said.
Moe said she and Cerasoli submitted an application to the state to start a certified driver education school in January of this year.
“That process was very lengthy. It took about nine months to get everything approved,” Moe noted.
Moe said for many, the time commitment is not possible, stopping many people from getting certified.
“You just really have to have a lot of patience and a good deal of passion to get to the finish line,” Moe added.
Normally, start-up costs are high. Moe, however, said 46 North received start-up loan money from Northern Initiatives, a community development financial institution in Marquette.
“We were able to pay for our textbooks, things like that and our car,” Moe said. “That is still money that we have to pay back.”
Moe said immediately after opening 46 North, she and Cerasoli immediately filled their first class of 22 students in August.
Since then, Moe said 46 North has added even more students to a waiting list for future classes.
“We had people just through word of mouth reaching out to us for the past several months asking, ‘Do you have a waitlist? Can you sign us up?’” Moe explained.
Moe said she and Cerasoli are still new to driver education. As a result, 46 North lowered its September and November driving classes to 18 students. They want to expand the number of students and classes in the future.
“I would like to be able to do a Segment 1 class every 8 weeks,” Moe said. “Then as we get more comfortable we’ll be able to increase our student load as well.”
For those interested in signing their children up with 46 North Driving School, visit their website by clicking here. Other options for driver education in Marquette County include Bouchard’s Driving School, 906 Drive and Negaunee High School.
Moe said she hopes 46 North can fill the ever-growing need for driver education instructors in Upper Michigan, but with the high start-up costs and long time commitment, Moe is unsure when that need for instructors will ever be fully met.
Click here to read part one of this series on the driver education shortage in Upper Michigan.
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