Montgomery County’s “Trucks and Tomatoes” Job Training and Urban Garden Enhancement Project is the recipient of the 2018 President’s Award for Innovative Practices by the Ohio Conference on Community Development.
The “Trucks and Tomatoes” Project is the result of a partnership between Montgomery County, the Dayton Foodbank, Butler Technology and Career Development Schools, and Central State University (CSU), with support from private sector trucking companies.
Like many communities, Montgomery County faces a shortage of Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) drivers. The County Commissioners recognized that need, identified partners, established a plan and found other benefits, as well.
“The Trucks and Tomatoes project started with a goal of providing life-changing CDL credentials to low-income and unemployed individuals, and it quite literally grew into so much more,” said County Commissioner Judy Dodge. “We are investing in people through partnerships that provide critical training, jobs and food in our community.”
Butler Tech provides the training while Central State University provides the classroom space, and, in exchange for moving and expanding its community garden, the Dayton Foodbank provides the paved parking area. In addition, Butler Tech executed a ground lease with the Foodbank and pays $6,000 annually for use of the driving pad. This contribution is used to provide 24,000 meals for needy families in the Dayton Region.
Butler Tech held its initial CDL training class at the Foodbank site in July 2017. Twenty-two students have completed the training. Candidates typically have job offers, often with starting wages between $40,000 and $50,000.
This innovative program was funded in part by Montgomery County’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), with additional leverage from Montgomery County general revenue funds.
OCCD is an association of more than 160 community and economic development professionals representing cities, counties, villages, non-profit organizations and consulting firms across Ohio. The OCCD Member Awards were created to formally recognize those community development professionals who have made the greatest difference in their communities and in Ohio.
The 2018 award was presented at the OCCD’s Annual Summer Luncheon and Banquet held July 25, 2018 in Sandusky, Ohio.