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Ohio CDL School Suspends Operation
Jun 18, 2021

The global pandemic may seem to be coming to an end for many, but TDDS Technical Institute in Lake Milton, Ohio, is still feeling the effects and has been forced to close as a result. CEO and owner Rick Rathburn, Jr. attributes most of the personnel decline to unemployment payments.

“One of the biggest components since re-opening after the COVID-related shutdown in the spring of 2020 and preventing our school’s recovery has been our prospective student population finding comfort in the enhanced unemployment compensation opportunity instead of taking advantage of an educational path provided to those in need of a well-paying career in the transportation industry," Rathburn wrote. "That lack of initiative was a primary reason for our school’s closing."

Not only are prospective students finding comfort in the payments, the instructional staff showed deficiencies, as well. Even the cost of daily operation rose steadily with inflationary-driven products used: wages, benefits, fuel/oil costs, and more.

The financial aid game changed, as well. Ohio State legislators removed funding for CDL driver training (Commercial Truck Driver Student Aid Program -- House Bill 110). This came as a surprise considering the severe shortage of professional truck drivers.

With the average age of drivers quickly reaching retirement age, the need for young drivers is greater now than ever. Other CDL programs are likely facing the same obstacles that led to TDDS Technical Institute closing.

The Ohio Trucking Association works with legislators on efforts to address the driver shortage facing the industry. Lawmakers reintroduced two bills that propose help in removing financial barriers for individuals attending CDL school and incentivize trucking companies to train their own drivers.

HB 129 would establish a $5 million per year Commercial Truck Driver Student Aid Program that would provide individuals attending CDL school with loan and scholarship opportunities. This program is needed now more than ever, since funding was removed from the OhioMeansJobs Workforce Revolving Loan Program last session. A majority of the funding in this program went to individuals attending CDL school, and with the program now eliminated, individuals will have difficulty overcoming the financial barrier associated with attending a CDL school.

HB 197 aims to create an income tax credit to companies that provide training opportunities to drivers. The $3 million program would provide companies with up to $25,000 in tax credits. A similar measure was passed by the House last session 91-1.  

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