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TDOT Trains Minorities With Stimulus Money

The additional stimulus money TDOT is receiving will help train those who need work.
/ Source: WSMV-TV

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has already received money from the federal government to work on major road improvement projects. But it's now getting additional stimulus money that will affect a lot of Tennesseans -- people who need it the most for both training and work.

Curtis Christian is a truck driver for TDOT and is one of 75 minorities who have been hired for highway projects since 2007. He was trained at the Fifth Avenue Baptist Community Development Corp. in the downtown area.

The Career Express Program would have come to an end this year had TDOT not received $800,000 in federal stimulus money.

State funding was coming to an end, and with 137 people on a waiting list, the stimulus money couldn't have come at a better time. It'll keep the program running another two years.

It has given people like Bernard Wren a fresh start.

"It's given me the necessary skills to go to an employer and say, 'Here; this is what I achieved and learned,'" Wren said.

Bradley White said he has a confidence he never had before.

"I feel like it made me stronger. It helped us become leaders in different ways like that," said White. "A lot of us didn't have a lot of money, and we didn't have enough gas. They supplied us with gas and stuff like that and helped us out. They even gave us food baskets."

TDOT's Career Express Program even supplies trainees with the tools they'll need on road projects, such as shoes, gloves, hard hats and earplugs.

Coordinator Barbara Toms said she's seen lives go from hopeless to hope.

"It's been very exciting to see people's lives transformed by jobs," said Toms.