Grant allows Medora seniors to complete free trainings

MEDORA — Training has been offered to Medora High School seniors that will help them in their endeavors after graduation.

Perhaps the best part? It’s free for them.

The school received a $107,632 employability grant from the Indiana Department of Education that covers microcredentialing for employability skills, CDL training and OSHA training.

Ten members of the Class of 2023 who are still at the school — a few others graduated early — recently completed the OSHA general industry 10-hour course with Mike Martin, and two of them also are working with Jeff Lane for training to take the CDL test.

“When deciding what I wanted to include in the grant, I wanted to include certifications students could use to be a step ahead when they entered the workforce,” Medora Junior-Senior High School Principal Kara Hunt said.


OSHA training

With the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for workers by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance, according to

Martin is the safety manager of an iron foundry, North Vernon Industry Corp. He has been working in safety for 32 years and is an OSHA outreach instructor.

A few months ago, he began a collaboration with the school to see if there was any interest in offering the course, and Hunt told him they were pursuing grants to make the training available.

Fortunately, the grant funding came to fruition, so Martin taught the course on two recent Fridays at the school.

“I live this every day, so the training piece is something I enjoy doing. I don’t get to do it often,” he said.

Martin began with an introduction to workplace accidents and the history of them in the United States. Then he told the students what OSHA does and shared the mission and vision.

The remainder of the time was spent talking about OSHA regulations, including walking working surface, exit routes and emergency planning, hazardous materials, fire protection, hazard communication, personal protective equipment, machine guarding, control of hazardous energy, electrical, blood-borne pathogens, air contaminates, confined space and fall protection.

“There is a specific syllabus and criteria we have to cover because all of this is regulated by the OSHA education outreach program,” Martin said. “They have very specified requirements for the training, and so that’s the topics that I chose. There are more topics than that for OSHA, but I chose those specifically because those are the applicable ones that these young people are introduced to.”

At the end of the course, each student received a certificate, and they also will get a card in the mail from OSHA.

“It’s just another feather in their cap they can put on their résumé that they completed that,” Martin said.

No matter what they do for work after high school, the students will benefit from already having the training.

“They are absolutely ahead of the game,” Martin said. “I wouldn’t say that they don’t have to do it then, but they are going to already have that foundation to kind of build their additional knowledge on.”

Senior Johnny Moore said he learned a lot about safety he didn’t know before and gained more knowledge on the regulations.

“It’ll give me a little bit of a view into some of the other things that are out there, and it’ll maybe open up other job opportunities for me,” he said.

Senior Emilie Sparks said she took the computer version of the course when she was a student at Salem High School and attended Prosser Career Education Center in New Albany.

“This version gave me more than the computer version did,” she said. “The computer version just told you flat out ‘This is how it is,’ and (Martin) gave pretty descriptive examples on how it could be done, what’s different.”

CDL training

In 1986, Congress passed the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act, which required a uniformed standard for obtaining commercial driver licensing in the United States, according to

This act and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations define which commercial motor vehicles require a CDL and are classified into three groups: Hauling hazardous materials, needing to be placarded and any automotive designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver.

For the past two years, Lane has owned Indiana CDL Training Center and run it out of his home in Cortland. He’s certified through the federal government to train people to take the CDL test, and he travels around the state doing that.

He said in February 2022, the federal government passed a law that says people can no longer just go take a skills test at a test site to earn their CDL. They have to go through training, either at a school or with a certified trainer, and be signed off on to take the test.

The training consists of theory online classes with nearly 50 videos that are 10 to 15 minutes apiece and behind-the-wheel training that’s 20 to 25 hours.

The online portion covers general knowledge and ends with a test requiring at least an 80% to earn a permit so the student can proceed to behind-the-wheel, which consists of pretrip (a 110-point check of a truck) and three skills (straight back the truck 100 feet, offset back start and parallel park).

Two seniors who completed the OSHA training, Shepard Earl and Eli Sturgill, are doing the CDL training with Lane. Once they complete that, Lane will put them on the federal registry, and they can go to the testing site in Mitchell to receive their CDL.

“Once (they) get their driver’s license, most companies have got a pretrip form, so you just go around the truck and check it off as you check them. For the test, you’ve got to do it from memory,” Lane said.

The examiner will go from front to back on a semi testing each student.

“Secured, not cracked, bent or broken, that’s just what you’re looking for,” Lane said. “You use the truck as your open-book test. If it’s there and you can see it, you name it and say something about it. There are specific ones that they tell you that you have to hit, but with my training, it’s more intense. I cover more things than what the state requires.”

The license will allow them to operate any combination vehicle with a fifth wheel.

Before starting his second day of behind-the-wheel training, Earl shared how the hands-on portion was going so far.

“It has been all right. It hasn’t been real bad,” he said. “There are a few things that I picked up here and there that I wasn’t aware of.”

Earl has worked at Bundy Brothers & Sons Inc. in Medora since August 2022 after working in construction over the summer, and Sturgill worked for Bundy Brothers last summer, too.

Earl said he was thrilled when he learned about the opportunity to take CDL training for free.

“I thought of it as more like to get my foot in the door at some other places,” he said. “I’m wanting to go into construction, and the more requirements I can get before I go there and the more I can put on applications, the better chance I’ve got at getting the job.”

Lane said the type of training Earl and Sturgill are doing with him normally would have cost $2,900, while the three-week truck driving school would have cost $7,500.

Lane said he had talked to Medora Superintendent Roger Bane a couple of years ago about offering the CDL training, but at the time, there was no funding.

One day earlier this year, Lane was at the school when Hunt told Earl she was working on finding a place for him to go to CDL school, and his mother said, “Uh, right here he stands.”

“I just happened to be at the right place at the right time. I told Kara about the program, and then we just worked it out,” Lane said. “I applaud Kara for taking the time to actually find the grant for these guys to do it. It’s a great opportunity.”

Lane said truck driving has evolved over the years as far as pay, making anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000.

“It all depends how much time you want to put into it,” he said.

Plus, the jobs are in demand.

“With the trucking industry nowadays, everybody is looking for truck drivers,” Lane said.