Ivy Tech is launching what could be the country’s first commercial driver’s license program, consisting of classroom and hands-on lessons, where students can use federal student loans to pay it off.
The training program is called CDL + and will be offered at five Ivy Tech campuses starting in January. Other locations will offer it later in the year. It was created with Conexus Indiana and Indiana Motor Truck Association to address a driver shortage in Indiana and across the country.
Bryce Carpenter, vice president of industry engagement for Conexus, said they intentionally added a curriculum so that students could use federal university loans to pay it off. It will take longer than a traditional driving school, but students could graduate with credits that count towards other degrees.
“So not only will I end up with a CDL license, but I have 17 credit hours towards another degree at Ivy Tech if I choose to change professions later down the road,” Carpenter said.
He said it also solves a problem that trucking companies have to run “finishing programs” for new drivers who have just graduated to gain a little more experience. He hopes this more comprehensive program can eliminate some of this expensive in-house training.
“Considering the turnover that you see in the industry, they had a lot of money for training to fork out to another trucking company or a different profession,” he said.
According to an annual report by the American Transportation Research Institute, the shortage of drivers has been, by far, the number one concern of shipping companies for the past four years.
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