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Free, local CDL-A training will be available for up to 12 students via Carroll County’s workforce development center

In an effort to help area residents get back into the workforce and provide needed services, Carroll County government has contracted with Carroll Community College to provide commercial drivers license training free of charge to up to 12 students.

Carroll County Workforce Development requested that county commissioners approve the contract last week, awarding up to $62,800 to Carroll Community College to provide CDL-A training for 12 students. Training will be provided to six students for $5,166.67 each ($31,000 total); six more students may be added for $5,300 each ($31,800 total).

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Funds for the contract are available through the American Rescue Plan Act. Associated costs are within the county’s allocated budget and no additional funds will be needed.

“This seems like a good use of ARPA money,” said Commissioner President Ed Rothstein, a Republican representing District 5.

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Heather Powell, director of the workforce development center, said the contract will allow for training to occur in Carroll County, rather than sending students out of the county. Typically, CDL-A courses are available in Baltimore or Hagerstown and are conducted on evenings for 14 weeks, or weekends for 20 weeks.

“This is one of our rapid trainings we wanted to do for our citizens in getting them back to work and helping the economy,” Powell said.

The contract would provide CDL-A training and a permit and license in an accelerated time frame. Students will train for eight weeks full-time, including classroom training and, hopefully, behind-the-wheel training in Westminster. Normally students must travel to Baltimore for several months.

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Three weeks of classroom training will be at the workforce development center in Westminster. A location for the driving portion is yet to be determined, Powell said.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a workforce shortage has occurred across many industries. The shortage of CDL-A truck drivers has been especially acute and is partially responsible for supply chain delays. The American Rescue Plan has tasked local workforce areas with providing essential training. That has resulted in a growing workforce and has helped in-demand industries to recover.

Powell said so far seven people have enrolled in the course, and several other people who work during the day and wouldn’t be available for the daytime program have inquired.

“We’re still doing eligibility on those individuals and if there are ways to connect them with a traditional CDL-A training, we do that as well,” Powell said.

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