The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) announced a new program designed to help people experiencing homelessness to find careers in the transportation industry.

Through the program dubbed “D.R.I.V.E.” (Developing Responsible Individuals with Valuable Education), MDOT and partner groups are working to provide housing assistance, job training and employment for homeless people in Mississippi. Program participants are earning commercial driver’s licenses and obtaining employment through MDOT’s Public Transit Division.

Montresa Harney was homeless with her seven children, but was able to turn her life around, through a program that assisted her with job training, employment and housing assistance, MDOT said in a March 29 news release.

Harney recently earned a Class C CDL through the program and is working in public transit.

I can drive anything under 26,000 pounds so like a school bus, JATRAN bus, light transit driving elderly people to their appointments…It was very rewarding especially the patients I met. I love talking to them, they love talking to me it was very rewarding,” Harney said.

Harney said that she has plans to upgrade her license and enter the trucking industry. “Eventually I think I want to get my class A and get on the road, drive big trucks,” she said.

“I would encourage people to do it, if you’re thinking about getting your license, class A,B,C go ahead and do it you know because you get to meet a lot of people who will support you,” Harney added.

D.R.I.V.E. partner organizations include:

  • MDOT
  • Mississippi Home Corp.
  • Grace House Ministries
  • Driver Improvement Agency
  • City of Jackson Homeless Program
  • Catholic Charities 
  • Salvation Army

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