CDL training now available for the homeless – Daily Leader

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The Mississippi Department of Transportation is working with community partners to help ease the severe driver shortage facing transit agencies and eliminate homelessness in the process.

Through a program called DRIVE – Developing Responsible Individuals with Valuable Education – MDOT and its partners provide housing assistance, job training and employment to homeless people. Program participants will complete certified driver’s license training and gain employment through MDOT’s Transit Division.

DRIVE is funded by a multi-million dollar CARES grant through the Mississippi Home Corporation.

Montresa Harney was homeless with her seven children, but was able to turn her life around thanks to the DRIVE program. She recently obtained her Class C driver’s license through the program and was linked with a job in public transport.

“I can drive anything under 26,000 pounds, so like a school bus, a JATRAN bus, light transit getting seniors to their appointments,” Harney said. “It was very rewarding, especially for the patients I met. I love talking with them. They love talking to me. It was very rewarding. Eventually, I think I want to get my Class A and hit the road – driving big trucks.

“These jobs have perks,” said Tamara Stewart of the Mississippi Home Corporation. “A lot of these people come from homelessness without a job, or low-income jobs without benefits, to have a stable job with benefits. It is life changing for them.

Harney said she encourages others to get involved.

“If you’re thinking of getting your license – class A, B, C – go ahead and do it, you know, because you meet a lot of people who will support you,” she said.

To learn more about the program, visit MDOTtraffic.com.

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