As a truck driving student, you may face various challenges when it comes to financing your education. Fortunately, there are several financial aid options available, and one of them is the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Grant for CDL. The TAA program can be used as a grant for CDL training, which can help cover your expenses while you are training for your commercial driver’s license (CDL).
What is the Trade Adjustment Assistance Grant for CDL?
The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program is a federal program that offers assistance to workers who’ve lost their jobs or those whose hours and wages have been reduced due to the impact of foreign trade.
The TAA program provides financial assistance, training, and other support services to help workers get reemployed. Those who qualify may be eligible for:
- Training – classroom or on-the-job training that meet the requirements of a specific employer, apprenticeship programs, etc
- Job search allowance – reimbursement for expenses of seeking employment outside of the worker’s commuting area.
- Relocation allowance – reimbursement for relocation costs for employment outside of the worker’s commuting area.
- Trade readjustment allowances (TRA) – income support to workers (in the form of weekly cash payments) who are enrolled in a full-time training course and have exhausted their unemployment insurance.
- Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA) and Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance (RTAA) – wage subsidy for up to two years available to reemployed workers (50 years old or older) and covers a portion of the difference between a worker’s new wage and their old wage (up to a specified maximum amount)
- Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) – tax credit to help pay health insurance costs.
TAA Grant for CDL Training
The TAA grant for CDL training offers a grant under the TAA program to truck driving students who’ve lost their jobs due to their employer being adversely affected by increased imports from other countries, and are seeking training to obtain their CDL.
TAA Eligibility Criteria
To be eligible for the Trade Adjustment Assistance Grant for CDL, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen.
- You must have lost your job, or had your wages and hours decreased due to foreign trade impact.
- You must have been employed for at least 26 weeks at your previous job.
- You must enroll in an eligible CDL training program within 26 weeks of your job loss.
- You must be able to pass a drug screening.
Benefits of the TAA CDL Grant
The Trade Adjustment Assistance Grant for CDL can cover various expenses related to your CDL training, such as:
- Tuition and fees for CDL training programs
- Books and supplies
- Testing and licensing fees
- Travel expenses to attend CDL training programs
- Accommodation expenses during CDL training programs
The maximum amount of the grant is $10,000, and it can be used over a period of two years. However, the grant may be reduced if you receive financial aid from other sources.
How to Apply for the TAA Grant
- To apply for the Trade Adjustment Assistance Grant for CDL, you must first file a petition with the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL), indicating that you have lost your job due to foreign trade.
Who Can File a TAA Petition?
- A group of two or more workers from the same company;
- Union or other duly authorized representative of such workers;
- The employer of such workers;
- American Job Center operators or partners, including state workforce officials, employment
security agencies, or dislocated worker unit and rapid response team members.
- Once your petition is approved, which takes approximately 40 days, you will receive a letter of eligibility (Trade Act Entitlement Letter).
- Once you have your eligibility letter, you must contact your TAA representative to discuss retraining objectives. The training programs must be approved by your TAA representative before the start of CDL training.
- Once the truck driver training is approved, the cost of the CDL tuition is paid directly to the training provider by the State with TAA Program funds. You must enroll within 8 weeks of certification or 16 weeks of layoff.
NOTE: If you need help with the application process, go to your local American Job Center and they can file the petition on your behalf if you’re eligible for the program.
Other Financial Aid Options for CDL Training
Apart from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Grant for CDL, there are also other financial aid options available for CDL training, such as:
- Federal Pell Grant
- Unemployment Grant
- Federal Work-Study Program
- Federal Student Loans
- Private Student Loans
- Employer Tuition Reimbursement Programs
Check out our comprehensive CDL Grants and Scholarship Guide.
Obtaining a CDL doesn’t have to be expensive. With the Trade Adjustment Assistance Grant for CDL and other financial aid options, you don’t have to let finances be a barrier to your career goals. If you meet the eligibility criteria for the grant, be sure to apply and take advantage of the benefits it has to offer. Remember, investing in your education is investing in your future.
Marina was in corporate communications for over 15 years before becoming a freelance writer. She's been writing about transportation, and the supply chain and trucking industry for over five years. Her father was in the trucking and logging business which exposed her to the industry. Her passions include travel, nature and entrepreneurship.