The state House unanimously approved legislation creating a commercial drivers license training program in state prisons April 28.

The Senate unanimously approved the bill the previous week, and Gov. Ned Lamont is expected to sign it into law.

SB 334 requires the Department of Correction to make available suitable space and technology for CDL test preparation in conjunction with a regional workforce development board and test administration.

The training and administration of the CDL knowledge test will be available to incarcerated persons who are reinterring the community within six months and not subject to disqualification from driving a commercial vehicle.

“This bill is really impactful," said Transportation Committee co-chair Roland Lemar (D-New Haven) said. "It will open up the doors for so many residents of Connecticut”

Broad Support

Committee ranking member Devin Carney (R-Old Lyme) agreed that the bill was much-needed.

“We are in a desperate need for truck drivers," he said. "These are good paying jobs, and I think it is a wonderful thing that we make this available to folks who are reentering society in six months.

"This is exactly the way we keep people from going back to prison and making their lives better.”

The bill earned support from CBIA, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut.

The bill earned support from CBIA, the Connecticut chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut.

New Haven-based non-profit Ameelio Emerge, which has contracts with four state prison systems, providing free video and voice calls, messaging, and education and job training, also testified in support earlier in the legislative session.

Ameelio CEO Uzoma Orchingwa told lawmakers their proprietary, all-in-one upskilling platform for underserved populations could be utilized in Connecticut prisons for providing commercial learner's permits.

“Working with Ameelio to deliver in-prison CLP training will be superior to burdening the DOC with this role, because as a technology company that’s currently serving thousands of incarcerated people across the country, we are well equipped to deliver incredible virtual resources at scale,” Orchingwa said.

For more information, contact CBIA's Wyatt Bosworth (860.244.1155) | @WyattBosworthCT