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New Program Drives Health Success for CDL Students

The Career Pathways programs set individuals up for success in jobs that turn into careers, but a new program called Driven to Succeed: Healthy Living Project takes this preparation a step further by looking at the health concerns CDL program participants will face in their future jobs. The Healthy Living Project is a partnership between the Career Pathways Commercial Drivers License (CDL) Training Program and the Health & Fitness Center (HFC), funded by a grant from AllinaHealth to promote fitness and healthy eating habits for local and over-the-road truck drivers.

“You would never think a CDL program would have a health component, but it makes a lot of sense because this type of work here you can get unhealthy pretty quick,” program participant Bobbi J. said.

Bobbi found out about the program from her YW Works employment counselor, who had originally connected her to the Career Pathways program. One of the biggest health hazards faced by those in the truck driving industry is the sedentary lifestyle that is part of the job, as well as lack of access or knowledge of healthy on-the-go meals.

In the two-week Healthy Living Project pilot program, YW fitness instructors worked with participants in the HFC three times a week for two weeks to learn accessible but effective movement exercises to keep their bodies flexible and strong. Participants also learned about nutrition, including hands-on instruction for how to prepare easy, healthy meals, from a licensed nutritionist. 

Bobbi has passed the CDL permit test, and has applied her healthy living lessons to her everyday life as she goes through truck driving school and prepares for the license test. She’s trying to establish the healthy lessons she learned as habits, including using the same recipes from the program at home.

“My kids love the things that I am fixing them as a result of the things I learned in the program,” Bobbi said. “They ask for it two or three times a week and I’m really happy about that because there’s a lot of junk items out there, and now they fall in love with what I’m cooking them which doesn’t happen all the time!”

At the end of the program, each participant received a certification from the University of Minnesota, an added boost to their resumes. 

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