Arizona to Train CDL Students With Help From Scholarships

Governor Approves $4.5 Million for Workforce Scholarships
Katie Hobbs
Gov. Katie Hobbs announces the scholarships at GateWay Community College’s Washington campus in Phoenix. (Maricopa Community Colleges)

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Starting this summer, future truck drivers seeking commercial driver license training at nine Arizona community colleges will get financial help thanks to a $4.5 million workforce scholarship program approved recently by Gov. Katie Hobbs.

“Education has the power to change lives,” Hobbs said. “Arizona is one of the fastest growing states in the country, with more and more people and businesses choosing to call our state home. This scholarship, along with our many other ongoing workforce development efforts, will help Arizonans access good-paying jobs that allow them to reach their full potential.”

David Borofsky, executive director of the Arizona Community College Coordinating Council, told Transport Topics the new Arizona Community College Workforce Scholarship Program (WSP) will use the influx of cash to help all 10 community college districts help students learn skills for employment, such as tractor-trailer driving.

The WSP funding is using federal funds from the American Rescue Act Plan of 2021 — to offset the impact of COVID-19 on the nation — to train 9,000 to 10,000 people in Arizona to upgrade their skills or learn a new career.

“Those funds will be used to help students in many high-demand/high-wages programs so it is not possible to tell you just how much will be used for CDL training. Students in that program can benefit from the WSP as colleges will have funds for tuition and fees, but not for equipment. The funds will be available for students who register for summer and fall 2024 semesters,” Borofsky said.

The state’s community college districts serve 250,000 students. The nine community college districts offering CDL and tractor trailer driving programs are listed below. Only the Maricopa Community Colleges do not offer CDL training.

  • Arizona Western College in Yuma
  • Central Arizona College in Coolidge
  • Cochise College in Sierra Vista
  • Coconino Community College in Flagstaff
  • Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher
  • Mohave Community College in Kingman
  • Northland Pioneer College in Holbrook
  • Pima Community College in Tucson
  • Yavapai College in Prescott

Borofsky said CDL training was designated as an important workforce training program that arose from meetings held between community college executives and business leaders who gathered throughout Arizona to determine training needs in particular industry sectors.

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“One of our stated goals is to increase workforce and economic development for our communities through identified and needed programs,” he said. “Tractor trailer training is one of those programs identified throughout our state to help continue growing our economy. We know that there is an estimated 80,000 shortfall of truck drivers nationwide. Our programs help all of our state mitigate driver shortages, especially as Arizona continues to attract new businesses to our state.”

Other high-demand jobs include advanced manufacturing including semiconductors, health care, information technology/cybersecurity/broadband/data analytics, insurance appraisers, construction/trades and aerospace/defense.

Eligible students must have at least a 2.0 grade-point average, qualify for in-state tuition, meet with their academic adviser about academic plans and either enroll/or be enrolled in a degree, certificate or credential program in a designated high-growth/high-wage program.