Cass City Public School’s CDL training program receives recognition from ag community

One public school in Michigan has created a free truck driving certificate program to help alleviate driver shortages in its agricultural community.

Cass City teacher Adam Dorland tells Brownfield the program started three years ago with support from the school’s superintendent who’s married to a farmer.

“She knew the need for truck drivers out in the industry,” he shares.  “We put two and two together—me being a truck driver and already a school educator.  I applied to the state of Michigan, I got my instructor license, and that’s what got the ball rolling.”

Dorland says the certificates can create a direct path to employment after high school or supplemental funding for further education and other careers.

“I gave a board presentation of a few months back and the student at that time only had his F Endorsement, but his quote that night in front of our school board was he made more money than his mother,” he says.  “I think at that time he was making right around $22 to $23 an hour.”’

Dorland says he believes the program is the only one of its kind offering free CDL certifications in a public-school setting, and the demand has almost grown to the point another instructor is needed.

The program has been named one of the nation’s ACH Seeds Crystal Brand Sugarbeet Seed Homegrown Giving Award winners.  Great Lakes sales manager Andy Bernia tells Brownfield the $10,000 awards give back to customer communities.

“There are lots of other related businesses in these rural communities that also need truck drivers so it’s a great community program,” he says.

The funds will support program expansion and needed equipment.  Dorland says a local farmer with Milligan Farms also donated a flatbed trailer this week to coincide with the award.

Six non-profits were selected as Homegrown Giving winners across sugarbeet producing states, including Nebraska and Minnesota.

Photo courtesy of ACH Seeds.

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