Recipients of Iowa’s first CDL training grants announced

Program will help meet growing need for commercial drivers

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has announced the first recipients from a new grant program to support training opportunities needed to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Iowa.

The Entry-Level Driver Training Program, first announced by Ms. Reynolds in December 2022, will help Iowa meet a growing demand for truck drivers and school bus drivers by providing $2.94 million to support 46 different training programs across the state.

The programs, conducted either in-house or in conjunction with third-party providers, will serve an estimated 1,642 individuals employed by the participating organizations. Employees will receive skills or knowledge tests in preparation for a CDL.

“This unique program addresses Iowa’s need for truck drivers in our workforce,” Ms. Reynolds said in a release. “Iowa is leading the nation by investing in the required training and removing barriers to these high-demand positions. The pathway to a CDL must be accessible to keep Iowa’s, and the nation’s, economy moving forward.”

Grants were awarded to the following participating organizations in the Corridor:

  • Alliant Energy IPL in Cedar Rapids, which received a $20,875 award for 20 participants. Alliant will provide CDL training for new apprentice or journey level employees needing their Class A CDL with airbrakes endorsement through a third-party training provider, Northland CDL of Mason City.
  • Captain Clean Ltd. of Cedar Rapids, which received a $25,000 award for 10 participants. Captain Clean, an industrial cleaning contractor serving Eastern Iowa since 1969, is a small business that will partner with a third-party trainer, ELDT Solutions of Hiawatha, to assist existing employees in obtaining their CDL. Grant funds will also help attract new employees by offering CDL driver training.
  • Cedar Rapids Community School District, which received a $98,990 award for 49 participants. Cedar Rapids Community Schools’ Entry Level Driver Training program consists of theory, range, and behind-the-wheel training that certifies and prepares new employees to drive a school bus safely. The program consists of hiring and providing in-house training to approximately 49 new school bus drivers to assist in safe transportation of K-12 age students within the Cedar Rapids Community School District. The program will assist in removing educational barriers for students in the Cedar Rapids and surrounding communities by providing more access to reliable and safe transportation.
  • City of Coralville, which received an $8,000 award for 10 participants. The City of Coralville will offer an ELDT training course through a third-party training provider for the public works and transit departments. The ELDT training program will provide for safer and more skilled drivers in all jobs requiring a CDL including streets workers, solid waste/recycling workers and bus drivers.
  • Duwa’s Quality Walls Inc. of Riverside, which received an $8,520 award for six participants. Duwa’s Quality Walls is a small concrete foundations company with the goal of obtaining six Class A CDL with air brake endorsement for qualified employees. The program will partner with Northland CDL (Mason City) to provide third-party training.
  • Eldon C. Stutsman, Inc. of Hills, which received a $40,000 award for 12 participants. Eldon C. Stutsman will offer an innovative in-house training curriculum with a qualified in-house trainer to reduce barriers for truck drivers interested in obtaining a CDL license. The program will provide more opportunities for truck drivers to obtain their CDL by recruiting and training drivers and offering the right training when and where employees need it.
  • Linn Cooperative Oil Company of Marion, which received a $40,000 award for 16 participants. Linn Cooperative Oil Company will certify 16 participants with third-party training provider, ELDT Solutions. Linn Coop is a member owned coop that provides and delivers fuel, LP, and agronomy products with five locations. The goal of the program is to develop current staff as well as broaden the base of candidates they can employ.
  • Maquoketa Valley Rural Electric Cooperative of Anamosa, which received a $5,000 award for two participants. Maquoketa Valley Rural Electric Cooperative plans to support the training of two fiber linemen by third-party provider, ELDT Solutions to gain their Class A CDL. In 2016, Maquoketa Valley Electric Cooperative began the installation of a fiber optic network in their service area to provide high-speed internet to their members. They have created their own fiber line crew and need CDL Drivers to operate the vehicles used by this crew.
  • Metro Pavers, Inc. of Iowa City, which received a $41,280 award for 20 participants. Metro Pavers will pay for the tuition of 20 new employees to obtain their Class B CDL in partnership with Kirkwood Community College. They will recruit individuals that have no CDL, use award funds to pay 100% of the CDL class B tuition, provide a training wage while students are in the training, and provide on-the-job training to give non-experienced drivers the experience to safely operate a commercial vehicle.
  • Schrader Excavating & Grading Co. of Walford, which received a $64,000 award for 40 participants. Schrader Excavating and Grading expects to train 40 current employees and new hires to receive their Class A CDL working with Goldline CDL as a third-party training provider. Schrader handles a wide variety of commercial and residential projects that require driving and moving heavy equipment and helps hauling for other area businesses.
  • Solon Community School District, which received an $89,500 award for 34 participants. The Solon Community School District plans to address a shortage of drivers with plans to train 34 new drivers with a third-party training partner while developing their own in-house training program that will allow them to be more flexible with training schedules to accommodate more individuals.
  • The University of Iowa CAMBUS in Iowa City, which received a $109,825 award for 120 participants. The University of Iowa CAMBUS program will use their in-house training program to provide Entry Level Driver Training to 120 new transit operator hires to obtain a Class B CDL. This training will allow the organization to continue to hire drivers and maintain a driver staff level needed to operate the public transit services needed by the staff and students at the University of Iowa.

The program’s goal is to attract workers that need a CDL to work in the utilities not otherwise considered in recruitment due to cost/time/sources of CDL training.

Last year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration implemented additional training requirements on top of existing CDL standards. Despite the high demand, CDL training can be costly or require additional travel or resources. Grant funding acts as a reimbursement following documented training certification and a CDL exam within 30 days of a participant’s last day of training.

“Providing new grants specifically for training means that Iowa employers and organizations can more easily recruit the workforce they need to be successful,” said Iowa Workforce Development director Beth Townsend. “Today’s awards are about getting the individual in the door and on a better pathway to a CDL. Once they are trained, their roles as truck drivers benefit our entire economy.”

Click here for more information on Iowa’s Entry-Level Driver Training Program.