Georgia Conrad

Contact: 503-530-0405


SALEM, Ore. — Thanks to the $3.4 million grant from the American Rescue Plan’s Good Jobs Challenge to the Southwestern Oregon Workforce Investment Board, the Oregon Workforce Partnership has pioneered Driving Prosperity. This initiative has significantly improved the long-term employment outlook for Oregonians by offering free Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) training. As a result, these trained drivers have secured lucrative positions, effectively mitigating the state’s shortage of truck drivers.

The $3.4 million was a portion of The American Rescue Plan’s Good Jobs Challenge, which distributed $500 million in grants to 32 worker-centered, industry-led workforce training partnerships. These grants aimed to accelerate economic recovery, broaden opportunity, and facilitate innovative approaches to localized industry-led, worker-centered training programs.

“It’s pretty amazing to be a five-foot-tall woman hauling 80,000 pounds to a work site,” said Amanda Larson, who earned her CDL through the program. I feel extremely confident since getting my CDL because I did something I never thought was possible, and then I ended up coming out on top.”

Thanks to this collaborative program involving three workforce boards, over 325 individuals have obtained their Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs). These efforts promise not only enhanced job security but also improved efficiency in the transportation of essential goods across the state.

“In the wake of the pandemic, there was such a shift in how we received our goods and services. We had such turmoil in the workforce in every capacity,” said Georgia Conrad, Executive Director of Oregon Workforce Partnership. “Finding that footing again, this year, was part of that solution. These Southern counties really stepped up to make this happen for the state, and it’s been really successful.”

Without funding from The American Rescue Plan Good Jobs Challenge, participants would see high out-of-pocket costs to obtain their CDL license.

“Four to eight weeks of schooling and the cost to attend the schooling is about $5,000, in addition to the living costs that people have to pay for while they’re undergoing training,” said Conrad.

“About two years ago, I came to Oregon to find some more opportunity,” said Joe of Chuck Bracelin Trucking. “I found the program, and I found this job. In one month, I make about as much as I would in a year at my previous jobs. It’s on another level.”

Driving Prosperity participants can enter the trucking industry in just four weeks, gaining access to competitive wages, comprehensive benefits including paid sick and vacation leave, 401K retirement plans, and medical, dental, and vision coverage.

“Through the Good Jobs Challenge and with the partnership between Lane Workforce Partnership, it just gives us an opportunity to really elevate that work,” said Ashley Espinoza, Executive Director of Lane Workforce Partnership. “It gives employers a chance to understand what the common needs are now for the emerging workforce and understand better recruitment and retention practices across the industry. It really does create that access to those jobs. And so, they do see a more skilled workforce coming to them and feeling like they are supported in bringing people that maybe wouldn’t see themselves in this career, really acclimate themselves and find a place of belonging.”

“Here in Tyree, for instance, 10 percent of our workforce by this June will be represented through the Good Jobs grant. That’s pretty significant from a CDL driving perspective,” said Billy Dover, Director of Operations Lubricant for Tyree Oil.

The Oregon Workforce Partnership is dedicated to the ongoing success of Oregonians and the advancement of Oregon’s workforce ecosystem. By doing so, it cultivates vibrant communities for residents and facilitates access to meaningful employment opportunities that contribute to both the local and national economy.


About Oregon Workforce Partnership:

The Oregon Workforce Partnership (OWP) is comprised of over 200 community leaders representing business, education, workforce, and elected officials from Oregon’s nine Local Workforce Development areas. These nine areas support locally-driven decisions and programs. Oregon has an integrated one-stop service delivery built on a standardized model to provide a flexible, unified workforce education and training system that consistently exceeds customer expectations. Both state and local workforce boards are committed to keeping Oregon business and industry competitive in the global economy.