DES MOINES — Governor Reynolds has announced $5 million in funding for community colleges to offer commercial driver’s license (CDL) training.
Iowa Workforce Development’s Kathy Anderson says there’s an ongoing need for drivers. “According to our top 25 high demand occupations on Iowa Works dot gov, we have a need for about 1920 heavy and tractor trailer drivers in August,” she says.
Anderson is the division administrator for the IWD Business Engagement Division and says the grants will help the community colleges create the infrastructure to meet that need. “That infrastructure could include building, purchasing, remodeling, the space for training, construction, or remodeling provided by third party vendors, you know, larger equipment, things like trucks, for training purposes, simulators, monitoring devices, things like things of that nature,” Anderson says.
She says the money can be used to expand an existing program or to start a new one to provide more opportunities statewide. “We want to make sure that we’re offering this program, the CDL training, you know, in an area that’s convenient for students,” Anderson says. “They may be working jobs currently and you know, taking this training in addition to that. So we definitely want to be able to expand the number of seats that we have available for training and so expanding the infrastructure will help us to do that.”
Anderson says the trucking industry was in the spotlight during the pandemic. “Certainly during the pandemic, we saw the need for transportation and supply chain. And these are important roles that all of us depend on. So this is an exciting way to be able to expand on the number of individuals who can participate in it,” Anderson says.
She says the program is expected to help create 1600 new drivers. The grants will be available through September 25th.
The governor had earlier announced nearly $3 million in support of employer CDL programs.