Earn commercial driver’s license free of charge with state program

High demand for truck drivers in River Parishes

Due to a high demand for commercial truck drivers, the Louisiana Workforce Commission and the federal government have teamed up to offer free training for those in the River Parishes who would like to earn a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, which requires a CDL, is $38,200 per year or $18.37 per hour.

Tommy Scott III, LWC workforce investment board director, said the program is funded by federal grants provided by the Workforce Investment Act and will help train local workers and fill industry needs.

“It is definitely a great program and the reason why we are highlighting CDL training is that we see a lot of demand,” he said. “From past experience, the individuals we do train find jobs. Maybe it is because we are centralized around plants that are looking for CDL-trained workers.”

The CDL training opportunities will be offered through the LWC and pay for tuition for CDL programs offered at Coastal Truck Driving School in Hammond and Diesel Driving Academy in Baton Rouge.

In addition to having the CDL training paid for, students will also receive money to help defray the cost of attendance.

“We offer supportive services including meals, mileage and per diem. It is a month-long program, you go five days per week for a month,” Scott said.

To be eligible, applicants must have a valid driver’s license and pass both a criminal background check and drug test. In addition, the training is provided pending a need-based assessment.

“There are some stipulations. Because it is a federal grant there are income requirements, obviously if you don’t have a job you meet the income requirement. There are number of factors we have to take into account,” Scott said.

However, Scott said there is no limit on the number of residents who can sign up for the training.

“We do have funding where we are able to place individuals gradually throughout the year. There is no ceiling, so to speak, as long as people continue to get jobs and it is a win-win situation we will continue to send people,” he said. “They are definitely acquiring the skill set necessary to put them to work. We want to help as many people as we possibly can.”

In addition to CDL training, the LWC offers other subsidized training programs including those for welders, certified nursing aides and other professions.

“It is a host of other programs. We have had 205 individuals do training over the past two years,” Scott said.

Those interested in signing up for the CDL training program, or finding out what other programs are available, can stop by the business and career solution centers throughout the River Region, including the St. Charles Parish location at 737 Paul Maillard Road in Luling. The deadline to apply for the CDL program is Monday, June 9.


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