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Indianapolis CDL program nets 38 new snowplow drivers

Indianapolis pays for CDL training

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — City officials on Thursday said a new program to pay for commercial driver’s licenses means residents can expect their streets to be clear sooner this winter.

I-Team 8 last year found the Department of Public Works was short 152 employees. Many of the open positions require a commercial driver’s licenses, also known as a CDL. That fall, the City-County Council approved $100,000 for a new program through which the city would pay for CDLs for anyone who agreed to work for Public Works for at least one year.

On Thursday, city officials announced they had hired 38 new Public Works drivers during the program’s first year. The budget the council approved Monday night increases the program’s funding to $150,000, enough to cover CDLs for at least 50 to 60 drivers.

Public Works Director Brandon Herget said the program means his department will be fully staffed for the snow season. He said this means the city will be able to field enough snowplows to clear streets more quickly after a snowstorm. Herget said staffing has long been his department’s biggest challenge.

“We feel like we’re in the strongest position we’ve been in several years,” he said.

Herget said it typically costs the city about $1,500 to cover CDL training for its drivers. Costs vary widely for people who seek CDL training on their own, but trucking company Schneider estimates $4,000 to $12,000.

Besides clearing snow, Herget said the extra drivers will tackle other Public Works jobs throughout the year, such as hauling asphalt for street repairs or removing trash.

Anyone interested in applying to become a driver can do so through the city’s job application portal. Applicants should have a CDL permit before they begin training.