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CDL training available to River Parish residents

LAPLACE — As people in the River Parishes and across Louisiana get back to work amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Tommy Scott III of the Louisiana Workforce Commission wants to make the public aware of Commercial Driver’s License training opportunities.

“The reason we are pushing the CDL training at this time is because of the current state of the world, a lot of individuals are at home, and a lot of people have increased online spending. That has increased the demand for commercial truck drivers locally and regionally as well,” Scott said. “We really want to encourage residents to take advantage of this opportunity to acquire the proper training and certification they need to take advantage of those workforce training and opportunities.”

Amazon, the Postal Service, FedEx and UPS are among the major employers who have expressed the need for more drivers due to the volume and demand of online orders.

In order to qualify for CDL training locally, an individual must be a River Parishes resident, unemployed, at least 18 years old and have reliable transportation.

Applications can be completed between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday or Friday at the Louisiana Workforce Commission, located at 737 Paul Maillard Road, Suite 1A. No appointment is necessary.

Individuals must have the following in order to obtain an application: an ID/Driver’s License, a Birth Certificate/Card and a Social Security Card. Only original copies will be accepted, and no applications will be dispersed without the required documents.

“This is one of many programs that we offer and have offered in the Louisiana Workforce Commission for years,” Scott said. “We work through training providers. One we deal with is Coastal Truck Driving. River Parishes Community College has a CDL course as well. The training courses vary. It depends on the institution the individual would like to go to and their schedules.”

According to Scott, LWC program eligibility often depends on the income of the individual’s household. Programs are geared toward individuals who are either unemployed or underemployed, meaning they do not make a sustainable wage to truly support themselves and their household.

“It varies from person to person, and it’s a case- by-case process,” Scott said. “We have a plethora of programs that we provide tuition reimbursement for, but this one has been very popular in the past few years. We want to encourage people to get back to work. There are so many frustrations with unemployment. We want these individuals to get back to some sense of normalcy, and we want to be there to help them transition back.”

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Louisiana Workforce Commission was seeing an average of 20 unemployment claims per week. Statewide shutdowns and business furloughs and lay-offs forced that number to more than 2,000 claims a week in Spring 2020. Nearly a year later, numbers have not improved much, and there is still a tremendous need.

Scott said most LWC programs are short-term in order to get individuals back to work in as little time as possible.

He also suggests locals take advantage of programs offered through technical colleges, including the River Parishes Community College Campus in Reserve.

“We do provide tuition reimbursement opportunities in a lot of their respective curriculums,” he said.

According to Workforce Training representatives at River Parishes Community College, average wages for commercial drivers ranges from $16.41 to $38.38 per hour, or $35,329 to $72,109 annually, based on experience and driving region.

CDL training is offered through RPCC monthly, starting the first Monday of each month.

More information on RPCC Workforce Development courses can be found at registration.xenegrade.com/rpcc/categorySearch.cfm?category=1.

Scott reminds individuals to remain vigilant in filing for unemployment and also seeking new employment opportunities.

“We understand there are some issues with the technical system, but we are working diligently day and night to remedy all of those issues and straighten out the unemployment process,” he said.

Those interested in finding re-employment opportunities can contact the Louisiana Workforce Commission at 985-783-2472.