Driving trucks requires a Commercial Driver’s License, or CDL, which is issued by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. It takes approximately 160 hours of training to obtain a CDL, including 40 hours in the classroom and 120 hours of hands-on training.
The Virginia Ready initiative was launched in 2020 to encourage Virginia residents who had lost their jobs during the pandemic to return to school at community colleges to learn business skills.
A coalition of 25 businesses across the state provides financial support for the nonprofit organization.
“The mission is to quickly reskill Virginians for in-demand jobs,” said Taylor Beck, head of partnerships for Virginia Ready.
Program participants receive payments of $1,000 after completing courses and passing diploma exams through the Virginia Community College System’s Fast Forward program. The program offers short-term training courses – typically six to 12 weeks – in areas such as medical and nursing assisting, phlebotomy, computer systems support, plumbing, pipefitting, welding, driving trucks and the installation and repair of power lines, among others.
“Virginia Ready was originally founded to serve those who were unemployed due to the pandemic,” Beck said. “But in June 2021, we decided to help everyone, unemployed and underemployed. So we expanded our eligibility.”