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Vandalia Rental uses Employee Training Assistance Program for team development

By Connie Lannan

December 1, 2023

Photo courtesy of Vandalia Rental

Photo courtesy of Vandalia Rental

For the second time this year, Vandalia Rental, headquartered in Vandalia, Ohio, has taken advantage of the ARA Foundation’s Employee Training Assistance Program as a way to help employees undergo Class A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) training without the company footing the entire cost.

“We focus a great deal of effort in developing our team. We do this for multiple reasons, but first and foremost is to help our team grow and provide them with opportunities to enhance their skills and earn more money in different roles. Secondly, this allows us to plan for future roles by giving our team the opportunity to learn these skills and fill open positions from within,” says Derek Potter, director of human resources at Vandalia Rental.

The Employee Training Assistance Program offers grants that allow rental owners to be reimbursed for 50 percent of the training cost, up to $2,500. Rental businesses may receive up to two grants per year.

Grants cover a wide variety of technical training that supports a career in the rental industry, including, but not limited to, mechanical, carpentry, electrical, welding, commercial driving — which also covers the American Rental Association (ARA) Professional Driver Education program and the Box Truck Training program — tenting, hospitality services, the ARA Certified Event Rental Professional (CERP) program, the ARA Certified Sales and/or Marketing programs and accounting/administration.

Vandalia Rental has used both of its available grants for employees who are pursuing their Class A-CDL training.

“This has been one of the more challenging positions to hire since the pandemic began in 2020. Planning to grow our team to fill these positions has allowed us to augment our recruitment efforts,” Potter says. “Our development plans with CDL training include all training or tuition costs, and we pay our team members wages to attend class during normal working hours. Depending on the role of the trainee, we are investing more than $10,000 per team member. The grants from the ARA Foundation help provide that investment in our team.”

Kelynn Tyler was the recipient of the second grant given to Vandalia Rental. “She has been on our team for a little over a year, starting with Vandalia Rental as an equipment service team member at our Cincinnati branch. Shortly after starting with us, she began having development conversations with her branch manager. She’s always had a desire to drive big trucks. Kelynn took this opportunity very seriously and has performed exceptionally throughout the training,” Potter says.

When asked what this training has meant to her, Kelynn told Potter, “This opportunity means the world to me.”

Potter adds that Tyler shared “that accomplishing this goal has made her feel like a more valuable asset to Vandalia Rental and she looks forward to her new role. She recently purchased her first home. She said that knowing this door opened to become a Class A-CDL driver for our team was a contributing factor in her decision to do so,” he says.

Potter strongly encourages other rental operators to take advantage of this program. “Do it! To quote Sir Richard Branson, ‘Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to.’ Training can be costly on many fronts — paying for the training, wage continuation, lack of productivity, etc. Having financial support from the ARA Foundation aids in making the decision to invest in your team. The process is simple. If you’re investing in your team, this will certainly help. If you’re not, hopefully this gives you the nudge to start doing so,” he says.

For more information or to apply for a grant, click here.