Grant for HCTC CDL training program expands opportunity for Eastern Kentuckians

Published: Feb. 4, 2021 at 3:04 PM EST
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT) - Gov. Beshear announced Thursday a grant worth more than $500,000 to help expand the commercial driver’s license program at Hazard Community and Technical College.

The program will allow for six cohorts of CDL students at HCTC’s Hazard campus and six cohorts at a campus in Leslie County each year, training up to 150 students.

The $573,583 grant comes from the Appalachian Regional Commissioned, designed to help counties who need financial help in Appalachian Kentucky and meet the needs of employers.

Keila Miller, Dean of Community Workforce and Economic Development at HCTC, says this interest in this field continues to increase.

“Every industry pretty much needs drivers at some point within their process and so whether they are taking long halls across the country or working for someone local like Pepsi or Coca-Cola,” said Miller. “As they are ordering more online it takes more drivers to get those packages out to the customers.”

Dr. Jennifer Lindon, HCTC President, says financial assistant is available and no experience is needed.

“The Work Ready Kentucky scholarship covers jobs and training programs that are in the fields of healthcare, transportation that’s where CDL comes in, construction, business, information technology, and manufacturing,” said Lindon. “We do have a simulator that students can start out on. This way they can get comfortable with all the controls before they actually get out on the road with an instructor and one of our trucks. "

“Our administration is committed to strengthening and expanding education across the commonwealth,” said Gov. Beshear. “This program is a great opportunity to train Eastern Kentuckians and help them find good jobs in their communities. We are grateful Hazard Community and Technical College will increase its pool of qualified CDL licensees throughout Eastern Kentucky.”

HCTC will use the grant to buy two new trucks and trailers, supplied and provide salaries for one full-time instructor and four adjunct instructors.

Dennis Keene, Commissioner of the Department for Local Government, which is administering the funds, explained the grant will help fulfill the need for skilled workers in the region.

CDL licensees are in such high demand that HCTC has a waiting list for students to enter the program,” said Commissioner Keene. “This expansion will address a serious need in the region and expand job opportunities for Kentuckians while fulfilling industry demand.”

“With the increase of demand within the transportation and logistics industry, the need for licensed commercial truck drivers has increased greatly,” said HCTC President and CEO Dr. Jennifer Lindon. “Hazard Community and Technical College is thankful to the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Department for Local Government for ARC grant dollars that will be utilized to expand HCTC’s current commercial driver’s licensing program. These grant dollars will be utilized to purchase additional trucks and hire additional instructors for the programs in Perry and Leslie counties. This short-term, four-week program trains job-seekers, allowing them the opportunity to quickly to return to Kentucky’s workforce.”

Students in HCTC’s Utility Lineman Program will also benefit from the expansion because those students are required to obtain a CDL.

Additionally, nearly $150,000 of local funds will be added, bringing the total project funding to more than $700,000.

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