Neenah, Wisconsin-based J.J. Keller & Associates is looking to help Iowa employers train its truck driving workforce, capitalizing on the state’s new entry-level driver training program.
The funding opportunity provides Iowa employers $6 million in reimbursements to train their drivers to earn a commercial driver’s license.
Gov. Kim Reynolds, in a statement in December, said the new program will break down barriers drivers face in obtaining a CDL and support organizations who sponsor training opportunities in Iowa.
“Our program [the ELDT Trainer Certification Program] is specifically designed to qualify an organization’s trainers to train their own entry-level drivers in compliance with the new ELDT rule, including delivery of the required theory and the behind-the-wheel aspects of entry-level driver training,” said Dustin Kufahl, vice president of driver training at J.J. Keller, in a statement.
The program consists of an online course review, classroom instruction, range and road training, evaluation and certification. Additional qualifications such as the Passenger Endorsement (CDL-B and CDL-P) and Hazmat Endorsement (CDL-B) and (CDL-H) are also available.
It also includes full support to ensure employers are registered on the Training Provider Registry.
“We’ve found that companies that are able to provide entry-level driver training are better able to recruit CDL drivers because they can remove the challenges of finding and affording training,” added Mr. Kufahl. “And having high-quality trainers creates high-quality drivers who are more likely to be loyal to an employer that has helped open the door for them.”
Truck driver training became more challenging when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA’s) new Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) rule went into effect in February. Under the rule, drivers can no longer take their CDL test until they complete a specific ELDT curriculum provided by a school or other entity listed on FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry (TPR).
Iowa employers can apply for the state grant until Feb. 3.