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County, Commerce work for CDL training 

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GIRARD, Kan. — At Tuesday’s County Commission meeting, Crawford County entered into a contract with the US Department of Commerce (USDOC) to provide training to county employees to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). 

The USDOC has agreed to provide up to $3,000 per student enrolled in Fort Scott Community College’s (FSCC) driver training program as part of the Aligned with Industry Demands (AID) grant meant to develop workforce needs and address skill gaps faced by companies in Southeast Kansas. For any Crawford County employee enrolled in the program, the county will reimburse FSCC $1,500.  

Classes will be held at the southeast Kansas Career and Technical Education Center (SEK CTEC) in Pittsburg. According to Crawford County Counselor Jim Emerson, the county has approved doing some work at CTEC to help build a pad for the training. In return, CTEC will allow the county a credit against the $1,500 per student cost. 

“The program benefits the county because of new CDL training requirements,” Emerson said. “We were going to have to find someone to train our employees and it is good to have someone local doing the training.” 

Several other SEK companies have also expressed interest in the AID program, including but not limited to, Crossland Construction, Midwest Minerals, Martinious Produce, the City of Pittsburg, Cherokee County, USD 249 and USD 250. It is not certain whether these companies have agreed to participate. 

The program is designed to license up to 67 drivers through FSCC between September 2022 through June 2023. The goal is to create a sustainable program beyond June 2023. The training program varies in length, depending on the participant’s time, effort, and ability, but is designed to be completed in two to six weeks. 

Students will undergo instruction that includes a minimum of eight days of online theory that is supplemented with an instructor and 30 hours of behind the wheel training (BtW) that includes vehicle inspection, basic controls, coupling and uncoupling, communications and signaling, speed and space management, safe driver behavior, railroad crossing, night operations, extreme conditions, and emergency procedures. Once completed, a student is then eligible to take the CDL exam at a local DMV facility. 

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