First-Ever Commercial Truck Driving Curriculum Launched

First-Ever Commercial Truck Driving Curriculum Launched

Conexus Indiana and Ivy Tech Community College launched the nation’s first training program for commercial truck driving that is covered by federal student loans and enhances a graduate’s employability in the increasingly growing trucking industry.

The CDL+ curriculum will be offered beginning January 2021 at five Ivy Tech campuses and is currently enrolling students. An additional eight Ivy Tech locations will offer the course later this year.

Developed by Conexus Indiana in partnership with the Indiana Motor Truck Association (IMTA), Venture Logistics and Ivy Tech, and with an initial grant from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD), the CDL+ program elevates the quality of training for new commercial truck drivers while eliminating the historic financial barriers to entry.

This is the first CDL program that is eligible for federal student loans, which required both state and federal legislation and approval from the U.S. Department of Education. The state of Indiana is also working to ensure CDL+ is eligible for Workforce Ready Grants.

“Shortages of truck drivers have been a pervasive problem for years, and only magnified by COVID-19, which has led to significant increases in online shopping,” said Bryce Carpenter, vice president of industry engagement for Conexus Indiana. “In response to this ongoing and growing critical need, Conexus Indiana worked with its network of logistics industry leaders to identify the barriers. It became clear quickly that students were held back by the cost of earning a certificate and that companies spent an inordinate amount of time and money training drivers before they could get to work. The CDL+ program addresses all of these obstacles.”

CDL+ is a 17-credit-hour certificate that can be completed in one semester. Students will have 160 hours of training, which prepares them to become a Class A Commercial Drivers License (CDL) holder. The program includes 121 hours of operating observation, 30 hours of behind-the-wheel skill development, an 8-week internship, an overview of logistics and transportation which includes all types of trucking operations including intermodal processes. There is also a focus on professionalism and customer service.

“Ivy Tech’s core mission is to provide students across the state access to an education that prepares them for a rewarding career,” said Sue Ellspermann, president of Ivy Tech. “With insight from our industry partners, we designed a program that removes financial barriers for students, gives them educational credits for future career development and delivers a work-ready workforce for trucking companies. This is both a huge step forward for Hoosiers who want a career in the logistics industry and our industry partners who are eager to hire qualified drivers.”

Venture Logistics is one of several logistics companies that lent insights and expertise to the development of the curriculum and is committed to ensuring the success of students who earn a CDL+ certificate.

“Venture Logistics’ support of the CDL+ program is another great example of how trucking professionals in the State of Indiana work together to promote programs that create opportunities for Hoosiers,” said Greg Eddy, president of Venture Logistics. “By using best practices from the safest companies in the industry, we have helped create curriculum for men and woman to launch a new career. We are proud to contribute to the advancement of the logistics industry, and we are proud to support the individuals who are the back bone of America’s supply chain.”

The American Trucking Associations projects the freight volumes are expected to grow 36% over the next decade. Over that same period, the trucking industry will need to hire roughly 1.1 million new drivers to keep up with demand. Additionally, freight movement is a critical component of national supply chains with over 70% of the $650 billion in goods that move through Indiana every day being done so on the state’s highways.

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