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Blackford County Organizations Partner to Improve Workforce

9/7/2011

Blackford County, Ind. (Sept. 7, 2011) – The Blackford County Economic Development Corporation and the Blackford County Community Foundation announced a collaboration to improve career opportunities for Blackford County residents interested in obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).

The Blackford County Community Foundation has pledged $9,500 to WorkOne in the form of scholarships for eligible Blackford County residents who are interested in the Sage Truck Driving School’s CDL program.

“I would like to thank the Blackford County Community Foundation for their support of this project that will have a direct impact on improving the workforce in Blackford County,” said Rob Cleveland, executive director of the Blackford County Economic Development Corporation. “This pledge recognizes the need for residents to improve their individual skills and, without the Community Foundation’s assistance, this would not be possible.”Blackford County Community Foundation CDL Scholarship Presentation.  Pictured (L to R) Rob Cleveland - Blackford County Economic Development Corporation, Karen Bailey - WorkOne, Greg Roy - Blackford County Community Foundation.

The Blackford County Community Foundation’s $9,500 pledge follows several months of work and meetings to identify Blackford County residents who are interested in the CDL program.

“The Blackford County Community Foundation is very pleased to provide the CDL proactive grant to encourage Blackford County residents to enroll in this excellent opportunity,” said Patty Poulson, executive director of the Foundation. “Our compliments to Rob Cleveland and Greg Roy of Central States Enterprises for creating this initiative.  We are also appreciative to WorkOne for setting up the scholarship opportunity.”

According to recent information, there are more than 22,000 truck driving position openings nationally, including several positions in Blackford County. In 2011, more than 2,000 truck drivers will be hired in the State of Indiana. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment of truck drivers will rise nine percent through 2018. The average driver makes $37,588 a year. *

Qualifying Blackford County residents are eligible for up to 100% tuition support for the course. Candidates must meet the following minimum requirements: have a clear driving record, be able to pass a drug screen, be a resident of Blackford County, and be at least 21 years of age or older. After only five weeks, graduates will test to receive a CDL and be assisted with job placement.

“This is a perfect example of how organizations within a community can partner to create better employment opportunities for citizens,” said Cleveland. “Currently, the logistics companies in Blackford County have many openings – all that require a CDL. In addition, Blackford County welcomed Naturally Recycled Proteins (NRP) in July. NRP will be hiring at least 32 CDL-certified truck drivers in the first quarter of 2012. We have unemployed residents who will qualify for the Community Foundation and Federal assistance. There is not a better opportunity available anywhere for citizens to obtain CDL certification. My hope is that Blackford County residents will take advantage of the program.”

Anyone interested in more information should contact Mark Bolinger at the Blackford County WorkOne office. You can visit WorkOne at 1301 N. High Street, Hartford City. You can also contact Bolinger directly at (765) 348-4928 Ext. 2001 or via email at mbolinger@work-one.org.

* Source: Hunsiger, Dana. “Demand for Truck Drivers is Revving Up.” Indianapolis Star. 12 March 2011.

About Blackford County

AOL.com listed Blackford County as one of the Top 10 most affordable counties in the United States in 2008. Blackford County is the home of Colonel Kevin Ford who piloted the Space Shuttle Discovery for 13 days on Mission ‘STS 128’ and home to Jim Kline, who was recognized in 2011 as North America’s Top Producer by Top Producer Magazine. Blackford County’s employers include, but are not limited to: McCammon Trucking, OJC Trucking, Smith Consulting and Naturally Recycled Proteins. For more information, please visit http://www.blackfordcountysites.com/ or contact Rob Cleveland at (765) 348-4944.

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