Student Uses CDL Training Grant to Get Back to Work


This month’s student spotlight features recent CDL graduate, David Barrett, who was awarded a grant to pay for CDL Training.

David Barrett of Tulsa, Ok was laid off from his welding job, when the pandemic hit last year. He had hopes of returning to his career once his company was back in operation. When that wasn’t possible, David found himself in search of a new career. 

“My father-in-law is a truck driver and I knew someone who worked for Sygma. I thought that getting my CDL was a good idea since there are so many job opportunities available,” says David. 

David knew he wanted to be a truck driver, but he wasn’t sure how to would pay for CDL school or if getting a grant was possible. Fortunately, David reached out to the Driver Resource Center and Dana, his Career Specialist, reviewed several grant opportunities available. 

“DRC told me I may be eligible for the Cherokee Nation’s grant. I was skeptical at first and I looked at the number for about 15 minutes before calling. I had received so much rejection lately that I just didn’t want to hear it again. It was surprising when they answered the phone and went through all of the details with me.”

David was approved within a week for a grant and enrolled at MTC Truck Driver Training in Tulsa, OK. “It was an amazing experience for me,” says Barrett. “I was skeptical at first as to whether I would qualify for a grant, but the Cherokee Nation career center was so helpful. They walked me through everything and I was approved quickly. The instructors at MTC were amazing and after 3 weeks I graduated with my CDL and a job at Sygma.”

David is currently completing his companies driver training program and really enjoying his new career.  “There are a lot of people out of work because of the pandemic and truck driving is a great opportunity to get back to work,” says David. 

Barrett received a grant through the Cherokee Nation that covered his full tuition at MTC. To be eligible for the Cherokee Nation grant, applicants must be currently unemployed and living in the Tulsa area. Grant funds are available for Tribal and non-tribal members. (Please refer to the Cherokee Nation Career Center for full details.)

The truck driver shortage has been worsened by the pandemic, which has also increased driver pay and benefits. Making it an excellent time for those who are unemployed or under employed to get their CDL like David did,” says Brock Bauza, Assistant Director of Enrollment.

The Cherokee Nation grant is just one of numerous opportunities to utilize state and local funds to get your CDL. Our career specialist’s goal is to find the most affordable option for our students. Getting a grant to pay for CDL training is more attainable than you think.

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