Commerce Grant to Help Fund CDL Training at Georgia College
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To support the Biden administration’s Trucking Action Plan, the U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded $742,180 to help a Georgia technical college pay for a concrete practice driving area for commercial driver license candidates.
“The Economic Development Administration is honored to support the enhancement of Wiregrass Georgia Technical College’s Commercial Truck Driving Training program,” Alejandra Castillo, assistant commerce secretary for economic development, said Aug. 29. “The new facilities will increase enrollment in this critical workforce training program, leading to good-paying, high-quality jobs that support the nation’s supply chain resilience.”
The Biden-Harris Trucking Action Plan was launched in December 2021 to help the federal government partner with stakeholders to strengthen the U.S. supply chain by building up the trucking industry and getting more drivers on the road.
Part of the Technical College System of Georgia, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College in Fitzgerald will use the federal dollars to enhance its new truck driver training program and support creating additional regional jobs. It was founded in southern Georgia in 1963 and serves students in 11 counties.
Wiregrass Georgia Technical College will use the federal dollars to enhance its new truck driver training program and support creating additional regional jobs. (Wiregrass Georgia Technical College)
A groundbreaking ceremony was held in July 2022 for a 5,000-square-foot commercial truck driving and diesel technology facility, with classrooms and labs specifically designed for CDL training and the diesel truck maintenance program. The new facility is a public-private partnership.
The federal EDA grant will go toward building the concrete practice area and access road to support truck driver training workforce development. It will be matched by $318,078 in local funds. According to estimates in the grant, the trucking education facility is forecast to create or retain 235 jobs and generate $40 million in private investment.
“Senator [Raphael] Warnock and I are pleased to help deliver this workforce development investment to Wiregrass Georgia Technical College to ensure South Georgia’s residents have access to job training programs and to strengthen our supply chains,” said U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff. “I thank President [Joe] Biden, Vice President [Kamala] Harris, Secretary [Gina] Raimondo, and Assistant Secretary Castillo for their support.”
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Georgia state officials have already provided the college with $8.3 million in grant money to expand CDL training, according to a fiscal 2022 update in the college’s 2021-2025 strategic plan.
This new federal grant was a result of regional planning efforts led by the Southern Georgia Regional Commission, which receives EDA funds to help create a regional economic development road map supported by private investment. The EDA, under the Department of Commerce, invests federal dollars in communities to foster American jobs.
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