City employees in Hattiesburg, Mississippi have the opportunity to receive free CDL training through a new agreement between the city and Pearl River Community College’s Career, Technical & Workforce Education program.
Mayor Toby Barker’s office came up with the idea for the partnership during his first year in office. They wanted to determine ways the city could provide its employees with opportunities to further their training and skills.
“From going back to school and finishing an undergraduate degree to job-specific training, we are looking at many different avenues to do what we can, where we can,” Barker said.
Creating additional education and training opportunities for city employees helps them prepare for future career opportunities, such as higher paying jobs within the city or in the private sector. CDL training in particular is a useful, employable skill.
“By training up our employees, we expand our workforce to better use the equipment it takes to perform basic city services. From picking up trash and carrying trailers of landscape equipment to driving a mass transit vehicle, almost every function of city government is served by having a CDL, Class A license,” Barker said.
More than 50 city employees have already expressed interest in the program. The first five employees will go through training starting in August. The city plans for this to be an ongoing opportunity for city employees and expects demand for the program to remain high.
“Five of our employees will be able to go through the program at a time. These employees will be grouped by skillset. The program isn’t traditional in the scope of a regular classroom experience, and it is tailored to the existing experience and skillsets of our employees,”Barker said.
As part of its agreement with the college, the city provided a facility for classroom instruction. The cost of the instructor is covered by the college as part of the agreement, so there is no cost to the employees, the city, or taxpayers.