DES MOINES, Iowa — In an effort to provide more opportunities for residents to obtain their commercial driver’s licenses (CDL), Iowa Gov. Kem Reynolds has announced her state’s new Entry-Level Driver Training Program.
“Truck drivers play such a critical role in meeting our supply chain demands — if you got it, a truck driver brought it,” Reynolds said. “Like the rest of the nation, Iowa, too, has a high demand for truck drivers; and in order to meet that demand, we need innovative solutions that reduce barriers for anyone interested in obtaining a CDL license,” said Gov. Reynolds. “This new program will break down barriers that currently exist for obtaining a CDL and provide support to organizations who sponsor these critical training opportunities right here in Iowa.”
The new Iowa Entry-Level Driver Training Program will provide $6 million to support employers, nonprofits or related organizations who sponsor or partner on key training programs designed to prepare potential drivers for CDL skills or knowledge tests, a news release stated.
The grant program hopes to remove costly barriers and, ultimately, create more drivers with CDL licenses across the state, according to the release.
“The Entry-Level Driver Training Program provides more opportunities to obtain a CDL, but it also makes it easier for employers to recruit and train their own drivers,” said Beth Townsend, director of Iowa Workforce Development. “This effort will also make our state more competitive in these high-demand fields by helping employers offer the right training when and where their workers need it.”
Earlier this year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration implemented Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT), requiring all new drivers to undertake additional training requirements on top of existing CDL standards.
“Current CDL training can be costly and/or limited, making the pathway to obtain or upgrade a license more difficult despite a much higher demand for drivers,” the news release stated.
All training providers and drivers are required to meet all federal driving standards under the ELDT program.
Grant funding for the Iowa Entry-Level Driver Training Program will reimburse eligible organizations in Iowa that offer these critical training programs either in-house or through partnerships with certified training providers. If the program is provided in-house, reimbursement can be used on instructor wages, curriculum materials and maintenance needs.
If the program is offered via outside training providers, reimbursement must go towards Entry-Level Driver Training program tuition.
Eligible applicants include Iowa-based employers, employer consortiums and non-profits who employ Iowa CDL drivers and provide ELDT either in-house or through partnership with third-party certified training providers.
Funds are administered as reimbursement only following documented training certification and a CDL exam within 30 days of a participant’s first day of training (first day of either behind-the-wheel or theory).
Applications will be accepted at IowaGrants.gov beginning on Tuesday, Dec. 13, and are due by 11:59 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 3, 2023.
Click here for more information on the grant, its requirements and the application process.
A webinar will take place at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 13, to provide more information on the grant and will include a Q&A session. Interested employers are encouraged to participate by clicking here.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.