Details being finalized for CDL classes


People wanting to become an over-the-road tractor-trailer driver will soon be able to take the needed class in Dubois County.

Final details are being worked out for Ivy Tech Community College-Southwest to offer commercial driver’s license training at the 4-H Fairgrounds in Bretzville.

“We’re doing it in Dubois County because there are companies in Dubois County clamoring for this type of training,” said Jonathan Weinzapfel, chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College-Southwest, which is located in Evansville. “They are in desperate need of CDL truck drivers. And they need an educational institution that can provide the training.”

Discussions about the need started months ago, through conversations Weinzapfel had with Huntingburg Mayor Denny Spinner and Jasper Mayor Dean Vonderheide. “We talked about the need of local employers to hire additional truck drivers,” he said. “And they asked if Ivy Tech would provide CDL training in Dubois County.”

Ivy Tech got in touch with County Commissioner Elmer Brames about using the fairgrounds for such a class. He worked with Ivy Tech and the 4-H Council to get the arrangements made. Land and classroom space will be used at the fairgrounds, he told the Dubois County Commissioners in May.

Brames stressed that many are working together to make sure the class happens.

“Dubois Strong through Grow Dubois County has committed to cover other unforeseen expenses, at least for the first year,” he said, “so that the council does not have to incur those expenses.”

The council is very interested in having the class at the fairgrounds, council head Casey Reckelhoff told the commissioners.

“I see it as a big benefit for the fairgrounds,” he said.

Classes would be held in daytime hours Monday through Thursday, and would not happen during the peak rental times, he explained. “Most of our rental income comes from weekend activities,” he said. Also, classes will not happen during the 4-H Fair; this year’s classes would start after that, Reckelhoff said.

Ivy tech wants to start classes the last week in July, Weinzapfel said.

“We’re just working through some legal paperwork,” he said. “I’m confident it will happen. It’s just a matter of working through some of the final details.”

The class will be a four-week program and have four students in each. Ivy Tech will use the same instructor and training company it uses for classes in Evansville. The semis that will be used will come from two local companies that are more than anxious to donate the equipment, Weinzapfel said.

“That gives you a sense of how important this is to employers in Dubois County,” he said.

The class costs $4,100 per student. But there are funding options for students through Work One, Weinzapfel said. “For employers who want to put their employees through the training program, there is state money available through the NextLevel Jobs program,” he added.

Kyla Krieg, workforce alignment consultant for Ivy Tech Community College-Southwest, said employers in Dubois County and the surrounding counties posted in 2018 more than 10,000 job openings that required a CDL license.

“So clearly, there is a need,” she said. “We’re just coming in to fill that need.”

According to workforce statistics, over-the-road truck drivers in Dubois County can make about $48,000 a year.

“This is a great job. They make good money,” Krieg said. “But drivers need this license and this training to qualify for the job.”

Ivy Tech is willing to offer the class indefinitely, Weinzapfel said.

“We’re in a position to offer this class as long as with every class we offer, we fill with [it] four students,” he said. “As long as the demand is there, we will continue to offer the training program.”

Anyone interested in the class can call Krieg at 812-429-9868.

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