Dylan GrantPhoto Provided

Dylan Grant has been driving for eight years now after receiving his CDL through the Career Development Program.

Grant finds success through truck driving thanks to help from CNO

By Shelia Kirven
April 5, 2024

According to careeronestop.org, to drive a tractor-trailer combination or a truck with a capacity of at least 26,001 pounds Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW), one must be able to unload the truck and have a CDL license.

There were 2,192,300 drivers in the United States in 2002, and by 2032, there is expected to be a four percent increase to 2,281,500 with annual projected job openings of 241,200.

Wages for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers in the United States range from $35,300 to $75,220 yearly.

Dylan Grant is a truck driver from Lebanon, Oklahoma. Grant used the Career Development Program to attend a truck driving school and obtain a CDL.

According to Grant, the program took care of everything for him and helped him find a school in the area. He completed a four-week course, four weeks on-site, five days a week. After course completion, it took Grant approximately 10 days to get a job.

“Part of the course, they had us submit applications while we were in the truck driving school with the assumption that we would pass and get our license,” said Grant. “Maybe a week after I finished, I got a call back from one of the jobs I had applied for.”

He said he is thankful that Career Development helped him find the job to complete his career path.

“At that time in my life, I didn’t really have any plans. College didn’t work out for me. They were helpful in suggesting things they could help me with. I thought truck driving sounded like something I could try and might fit me,” Grant said. “I definitely would not have done it if the Career Development had not been able to help me, though.”

After the course completion, he worked as an over-the-road (OTR) driver. He said he went from Southern California to New York during the first few months.

He then moved to another account with the company, Oklahoma-Texas regional, and then to mid-west Texas and Oklahoma regional.

He now drives Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri and occasionally Illinois or Wisconsin, but he said everything is round-trip from the home distribution center at Ardmore, Oklahoma.

He works five days on the road and is home on the weekends. He is a company driver with a truck assigned to him.
According to Grant, there are a lot of trucking jobs available at the moment.

Choctaw tribal members wishing to pursue a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and receive training to become certified on-the-road truck drivers may be able to do so through the Choctaw Nation Career Development Program or Employment Training Services Program.

Career Development

The Career Development program provides career guidance, assessment testing, academic remediation, financial assistance for quality training, soft skills, and employment services.

It enables Choctaw members to obtain recognized certifications needed to enter careers or advance existing self-sustaining careers that contribute to personal financial security, healthy lifestyles, and enhancement of the regional, state, and national economy.

The program assists Choctaw tribal members nationwide.

Career Development works to enhance the lives of Choctaw tribal members by providing opportunities for education and training that lead to industry-recognized certifications or licenses and self-sustaining employment.

Career Development Senior Manager Jamie Hamil said, “Since our beginning in April 2007, the Career Development Program has successfully helped over 500 tribal members to obtain their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and go to work as a truck driver. In 2023 alone, we assisted 80 tribal members who have since gone to work in the field.”

Career Development also has a series of videos on subjects such as applying for a job, career networking, interview skills, employability skills, cover letters, Teach 2 Reach, and information on careers like optometry, nursing, pharmacist, speech-language pathologist, physical therapy, electrician, plumber, nurse practitioner, and veterinarian.

For more information, visit our Career Development Programs and apply on the Chahta Achvffa portal. You can also follow the program on Facebook.

Employment Training Services

The Employment Training Services (ETS) program assists eligible CDIB holders living within the reservation’s service area. Applicants do not have to be Choctaw.

Brianne Wilson, Program Coordinator II for the Employment Training Services Program, said, “Employment Training Services can assist with the cost of tuition for many short-term trainings, including truck driving school.

Any CDIB cardholder (member of any federally recognized tribe) that lives within the CNO reservation area can apply for ETS services.”

Wilson said the applicant must list at least one barrier to employment when applying.

Typically, if applicants qualify for both Career Development funding and ETS assistance, the cost of the CDL course is covered.”

The ETS program provides adults with opportunities for employment education, training, and related services that are needed to succeed in the labor market.

The applicant must be 18 or older and attending an accredited school.

Applicants can apply for Employment Training Services on Chahta Achvffa, and information is available on the program’s service webpage.