Getting A WIOA Grant To Pay For CDL Schooling (Arizona- Maricopa County)

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Justin D.'s Comment
member avatar

I couldn't find much information about the process of getting a WIOA grant when I started pursing one, so I thought I'd share my experience for the next person looking into it.

First of all If you don't know what WOIA is, there's an article here: http://www2.ed.gov that'll explain what it is and why you may want it. Basically if you meet certain qualifications the government will give you a grant to pay for CDL training. The following info is accurate for how the process works for the 4,000,000+ in Maricopa County Arizona as of early 2016. As I understand it the process for distributing WIOA funds is largely up to the States and further delegated to the counties or local municipalities (your mileage may vary in other locals).

The journey begins at Arizona@Work. It's the unemployment and job training facility. They can help you find work or testing for certification in certain areas (Typing, GED testing, etc), and they are the gate keepers for the WOIA in Maricopa county. They have two locations one in the west valley at 1840 N 95th Ave. and one in the east valley at 735 N Gilbert Road.

Step one is to call or vist them in person and sign up for 'Orientation'. They'll offer several Orientation times during the week, and It's the first step to getting help from them with any of the services they offer including the WIOA grant. Orientation will take an hour: They'll give you a folder with some paperwork in it (including the initial application for the WIOA grant, and a list of accompanying documentation they want with it), and will wrap up with a short career personality test.

Step two will be to fill out that application and gather the supporting documentation they want (which will include the results from that career personality test you took during Orientation). The application is pretty basic and will include much of the same info asked for on an employment application, including work history. The supporting documentation is pretty easily obtain stuff: Copy of Drivers License, Social Security Card, High School Diploma or GED Copy, Proof that your registered for selective service (if you're male), etc.

Step three will be to sign up for 'Group Enrollment'. They seem to offer these twice a week. All you're doing is handing in the application and paperwork mentioned above (why you need an appointment for this is beyond me). You'll sit across from someone at their desk while they make sure all the paperwork is there.

Step four. You will be required to attend a two hour resume writing class. Again, it is beyond me why you need to do this if you're planing on going into a field that (to my knowledge) doesn't require employment applicants to have a resume. However, it is required that you attend one of their resume writing classes.

Step five. You can now arrange a time with your appointed 'Career Guidance Specialist', for your 'intake appointment'. You'll be given a packet of paperwork (why you need an appointment for this? Search me).

Step six, fill out the paperwork. This might take a while, they'll be asking for a lot more this time. You'll need to write a 'Letter of Justification' explaining why you believe you deserve the grant. You'll need a 39 month MVR (You can print this out online for $3 from ADOT, and it'll save you time of going to the MVD). There will be a page of short answer questions. You'll need to fill out a financial worksheet of expected income and expenses proving you can provide for yourself while in school. They'll want a print out of five local ads for employment showing that if you had the qualification (CDL) you would meet the qualifications for employment. They will want you to visit the three local private schools (American Institute of Trucking, Phoenix Truck Driving Institute, Southwest Truck Driver Training), interview someone from admissions (their signature required), and fill out a questionnaire (the person you meet with from each of the schools will be all too familiar with this questionnaire) about each of the programs. You'll need a training proposal letter for you written be an official at the school you select as well.

Step seven: arrange an appointment with your Career Guidance Specialist to turn all of the paperwork back in.

Step eight. Approval process can take from the end of the day up to five business days. After which the will email you and the school of your choosing an approval letter and a voucher for the cost of the program (not to exceed $4,000)(coincidentally all tuition and fees just happen to come to just under $4,000 at each of the schools).

That's it. The entire process took me four weeks. Although I'm told it often takes up to six, so be prepared to be waiting to start school for a little while if you go this route.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

WIOA:

WIOA - Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (aka WIA)

Formerly known as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the WIOA was established in 1998 to prepare youth, adults and dislocated workers for entry and reentry into the workforce. WIOA training funds are designed to serve laid-off individuals, older youth and adults who are in need of training to enter or reenter the labor market. A lot of truck drivers get funding for their CDL training through WIOA.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

MVR:

Motor Vehicle Record

An MVR is a report of your driving history, as reported from your state Department of Motor Vehicles. Information on this report may include Drivers License information, point history, violations, convictions, and license status on your driving record.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Jason S.'s Comment
member avatar

I live near Show Low, AZ. Although the WIOA grant is the same (it's a State of Arizona grant, derived of Federal funds), the process up here is a little different.

When I went to Arizona Workforce in Show Low, I was handed the application with an attached paper detailing the documents that were needed. The Orientation Meeting is only given once per month (August 31st in this case). They said it would take about an hour, but we were finished in 30 minutes. We did introductions (two others are going for their CDL), watched a short video, and that was it (no personality test here). I turned in my completed application, not everyone had one. We were told to write down the 6 steps needed (as follows):

**************************************************************************************

1. Attend Orientation

2. Register an account at www.azjobsconnection.com

3. Attend Career Readiness Class (at Northern Pioneer College, 3 weeks from today)

4. Contact Workforce Specialist (same woman that gave the Orientation) to schedule an appointment

5. Work with the Workforce Specialist (whatever that means)

6. Process can take up to six weeks

**************************************************************************************

So far I've completed steps 1 and 2. I've tried to contact the Workforce Specialist to try and get an early appointment, but as it's government I'm betting she'll make me wait until after the Career Readiness Class (which is also once per month, the next one being 3 weeks from today).

I'll make another post in a few weeks, after the Career Readiness Class is finished. Always good to have reliable information out there, hope between Justin's post and mine somebody can benefit.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

WIOA:

WIOA - Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (aka WIA)

Formerly known as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the WIOA was established in 1998 to prepare youth, adults and dislocated workers for entry and reentry into the workforce. WIOA training funds are designed to serve laid-off individuals, older youth and adults who are in need of training to enter or reenter the labor market. A lot of truck drivers get funding for their CDL training through WIOA.

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