Iowa has developed a new way to help interested people become truck drivers. The new Iowa Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) Program would provide more opportunities for potential truck drivers to obtain their commercial driver’s license (CDL).

“Truck drivers play such a critical role in meeting our supply chain demands– ‘If you got it, a truck driver brought it’,” said Governor Kim Reynolds. “Like the rest of the nation, Iowa, too, has a high demand for truck drivers; and in order to meet that demand, we need innovative solutions that reduce barriers for anyone interested in obtaining a CDL license. This new program will break down barriers that currently exist for obtaining a CDL and provide support to organizations who sponsor these critical training opportunities right here in Iowa.”

The new Iowa ELDT will provide $6 million for employers, nonprofits and related organizations who partner on key training programs designed to prepare potential drivers for CDL skills or knowledge tests. The program’s goal is to remove financial barriers and create more drivers with CDL licenses statewide.

“The Entry-Level Driver Training Program provides more opportunities to obtain a CDL, but it also makes it easier for employers to recruit and train their own drivers,” said Beth Townsend, Director of Iowa Workforce Development. “This effort will also make our state more competitive in these high-demand fields by helping employers offer the right training when and where their workers need it.”

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration implemented ELDT earlier this year, requiring all new drivers to take additional training on top of existing CDL training. Current CDL training can be expensive and/or limited, making the journey to obtaining or upgrading a license more difficult despite a high demand for drivers. All training providers and drivers are required to meet all Federal driving standards under the ELDT program.

Grant funding for the Iowa ELDT Program will reimburse eligible organizations that offer these critical training programs either in-house or through partnerships with certified training providers. If the program is provided in-house, reimbursement can be used on instructor wages, curriculum materials and maintenance needs. If the program is offered via outside training providers, reimbursement must go towards ELDT program tuition.

Applications will be accepted here starting Tuesday, December 13 and are due on Friday, February 3, 2023, at 11:59 a.m. The website is currently undergoing scheduled maintenance and will be unavailable until December 12. Click here for more information on the grant, requirements and the application process.

A webinar will take place on December 13 at 3 p.m. to offer more information on the grant, as well as a Q&A session. Interested employers can register here.