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Addressing Driver Shortage; ACUA Partners with CDL Training School for Onsite Training

Dec 21, 2021

“Like many other industries and businesses across the nation, we are in need of drivers with Commercial Driver’s Licenses,” ACUA president Rick Dovey notes. “We’ve partnered with our County Workforce Development Office and a local driving school to create a pilot program to bring professional CDL training to our facility in Egg Harbor Township. This will allow existing employees to build their skills and earn a valuable credential to enhance their careers and salaries, while helping us to meet our employment needs,” Dovey added.

This initiative will begin in January, in advance of new federal rules that will require professional training for CDL licensing. Employees who meet the eligibility criteria will receive 40 hours of training at the ACUA’s Haneman Environmental Park at 6700 Delilah Road.  Training will be done over the course of five Saturdays and will be provided by Mike’s Driving School of Williamstown.

“One of the great things about having the training on site is not only the convenience for our employees, but also the fact that they will be training on the vehicles and equipment that they will actually be driving, so they will be ready to go on the road sooner without significant additional training following classes at another site,” ACUA Human Resources Director Sharon Hunt commented. The training program will limit class size to allow new drivers to maximize learning.

In the past, employees interested in earning a CDL license received encouragement and support from the ACUA to prepare for their test, including guidance for the written test to obtain a permit and being paired with a CDL driver for behind the wheel practice on site once a permit was obtained. “Before this pilot program, these steps were a definite help to interested employees, and many were able to earn their CDLs to advance in their careers. However, the new regulations, coupled with the changing employment landscape, have made it imperative to look beyond what worked in the past,” Hunt noted.

The program is made possible through an UPSKILL: NJ Incumbent Worker Training Grant from the Atlantic County Workforce Development Office, which will cover 50% of the cost for ACUA. The cost for an individual to engage this training privately could cost approximately $5000. ACUA employees will not have to pay the fee for the training, which will be required by federal law in February 2022.

During the past year, the Atlantic County Workforce Development Office has expanded its focus from individuals in need of employment, to work directly to help employers meet their needs. “The Workforce Development Office has been a great resource for us. They recognize the need to diversify employment opportunities in our area and have been very helpful. We are really pleased to be able to offer this new program to our employees - it’s a win for everyone,” Rick Dovey stated.