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CNHA’s Hawaiian Trades Academy launches commercial driver's license applications for next class

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement is launching its second Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) cohort to start in early November. The goal of the program is to provide workforce development to economically and socially disadvantaged communities with the overarching goal of raising household incomes of families in Hawaiʻi.

This exciting 14-week program will equip students with the knowledge and experience needed to obtain their CDL-A licenses. Throughout this course, participants will learn the basics of driving from experienced driving instructors and will utilize a state-of-the-art digital simulator before transitioning to driving behind the wheel of a truck.

Space is extremely limited. Selected participants will need a CDL-A permit before November 8 and a medical exam prior to joining the class.

The first CDL Program under CNHA launched in May to help train the next generation of truck drivers and heavy equipment operators. 20 students took part in the inaugural program. Two of the graduates of the program share their experience:

“I was determined and motivated to accomplish this course, not just for me, but for my ʻohana, as well,” said Charity Kaʻawa. “I was so excited and grateful that an opportunity like this opened up. The day I passed my CDL road test and skills, and I realized it was official, I had chicken skin. My heart was full. It was like a weight has been lifted, and it feels so good to be a licensed CDL driver!”

“I think all Hawaiians should take advantage of this program, or any Trades program offered at CNHA, to benefit their families and to help get more income in their pockets,” encouraged Tony Sang. “Everyone from the staff, to the instructors, to the students put their best foot forward to make sure this program and everyone involved would thrive.”

The Hawaiian Trades Academy launched in 2019. Since its inception, the program has graduated more than 250 students across Hawaiʻi. Along with the CDL program, the Academy offers training for careers in carpentry, firefighting, policing, and the solar industry. Most programs consist of 10-week accelerator classes, requiring three hours of course work per week and offer CDL certification, as well as OSHA-10 certification, respiratory and first aid training, financial literacy training, and job placement assistance. CNHA’s Hawaiian Trades Academy is funded by Aloha United Way, Kamehameha Schools, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and the State of Hawaiʻi.

For more on CNHA’s Hawaiian Trades Academy, go to or call (808) 596-8155.

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