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New Class to Help English-Language Learners Earn CDL
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New Class to Help English-Language Learners Earn CDL

Free ECDL course available this spring through WIOA grant funds

Parkland College is tackling the truck driver shortage with a new class that will help English-language learners grasp the language sufficiently to earn their commercial driver's license (CDL). ESL learners from the community are welcome to register now for the free English-language CDL course (ECDL), paid for through grant funds from Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Parkland Humanities Department Professor of ESL Tracey Brown will lead the new class being offered through the college's Adult Education department. "I'm thrilled to have been involved in the creation of this course from the ground up and am looking forward to teaching our first group of ECDL students!" Brown said. "These students will learn the specific vocabulary, reading, listening, and speaking skills necessary to be successful not only in Parkland's CDL class but—more importantly—on the written and oral state tests required for a commercial driver's license."   The ECDL course has been designed to smooth the path for English-language learners desiring to enter the trucking industry. Enrollees will meet four to five days per week during the day, training in the culture and language skills they need for success in Parkland's official CDL training course. Additionally, qualified ECDL students will receive transitional services that connect them with the Support for Workforce Training (SWFT) program at Parkland College. Funded by the Workforce Equity Initiative (WEI), SWFT provides financial and academic supports for short-term training programs assisting underrepresented populations in the workforce. Once ECDL students attain their industry-recognized credential, they can then drive for a variety of local or national companies. Parkland's first ECDL course begins this January with the Spring 2023 semester. Applicants will need to test to determine if they are eligible to participate in the program. Students who do not qualify will be given options to improve their English reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills in order to reapply. For more information on the ECDL program and to apply, please contact Parkland College Adult Education at 217/351-2580.   In Fiscal Year 2023 (FY '23), approximately 45% ($204,530) of the total cost of Parkland College Adult Education programming is provided through federal funds under Title I and Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

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