Partnership Brings Success to Innovative CDL Program

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The RIDGE Project, Inc. and partners announce success of innovative CDL certification program

Mansfield – After months of joint effort between The RIDGE Project (, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (, P.I. & I. Motor Express, Inc. (, and Trainco, Inc. (, The RIDGE Project is pleased to announce the first participants who have completed the CDL training at Richland Correctional Institution and are preparing to take the test that will earn them their license.

The inaugural class of four soon-to-be-released incarcerated fathers has completed TYRO Dads, one of The RIDGE Project’s nationally-recognized performance ethics programs, in addition to Trainco’s CDL instruction.  P.I. & I. Motor Express provided the equipment and will offer employment opportunities to the students as they are released back into communities across the state.

“I am pleased to see the first four offenders complete this program and prepare to take a test to earn a CDL,” announced DRC Director Gary Mohr.  “This unique partnership is directly aligned with our agency mission, which is to reduce recidivism among those we touch.  We know that giving offenders the opportunity to gain employment following release is critical to their success in our communities.”

Representatives from The RIDGE Project, along with Will Eleby of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, Ken Howell, Owner of Trainco, Inc.,  and the family members of the students met at the Richland Correctional Institution to celebrate the completion.

“We are so pleased to be a part of bringing transformation to fragile families. When a dad begins to dream again, he begins to lead his children into a future defined by hope,” shared Catherine Tijerina, Co-Director of The RIDGE Project. “A CDL license will give the fathers the ability to provide for their families and become responsible, productive citizens. It is a ‘dream come true’ for these families,” added RIDGE Co-Director Ron Tijerina.

“I am excited about the folks in this inaugural class who have completed their CDL training.  I really see it as the beginning of greater things to come.” shared Ken Howell, president of Trainco, Inc. “There has been a shortage of truck drivers for 20 plus years. We have now matched a growing need for truck drivers with applicants that can fill the bill for the industry, while enjoying a good living with benefits for themself and their families.”

The RIDGE Project has been designated a federal Department of Health and Human Services “Best Practice” program, and has been recognized nationally as being leaders in fatherhood and prisoner re-entry.  They are currently the recipient of two major federal grants through the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF):  the Pathways to Responsible Fatherhood grant and the Responsible Fatherhood Ex-Prisoner Re-Entry grant.


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