Regional Commercial Drivers’ License Workforce Strategy Consultant - Request for Proposals

Posted on March 29, 2023

Rfp Workforce Strategy Consultant 3.2023

March 2023

CenterState CEO and its workforce development partners, Syracuse Build and SUNY EOC, are seeking a consultant to help develop and design a regional Commercial Drivers’ License (CDL) workforce strategy to expand access to CDL training and related careers in Central New York, particularly to un/underemployed women and people of color. The consultant will be responsible for:

  • Conducting research and interviews to inform program design and establishing work based learning partnerships and plans with local employers. This includes creating employer profiles, candidate profiles, and recommendations on how the program should be structured, including sample MOUs.

  • Convening and building partnerships resulting in CenterState CEO entering an MOU with at least one CDL training provider and 3-5 employers to pilot a CDL training program. 


CenterState CEO is Central New York's premier business leadership and economic development organization, committed to creating a region where business thrives, and all people prosper. Its vision is to be recognized as a visionary leader, effective advocate, exceptional employer and a force for positive outcomes for our community. 

Work Train is an initiative of CenterState CEO focused on building effective, innovative workforce development programs that lead to career opportunities in high-wage occupations, particularly in advanced manufacturing, software and construction.  We foster shared prosperity by creating career opportunities for individuals who are unemployed and underemployed, while helping companies build strong workforces. We serve as a workforce intermediary and strategist, convening partnerships that drive solutions to persistent workforce problems. Our flexible and responsive approach allows us to develop and invest in innovative — and often non-traditional—strategies. As an Affiliate of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, Work Train is part of a national network of workforce initiatives implementing best practices and pursuing systems change in their communities. 


CenterState CEO and its partners are working to establish an industry partnership which will align employers, training providers and community organizations around a strategy to add more CDL training slots to the region. This strategy will be designed specifically to attract and retain diverse talent in CDL-related careers in construction, logistics, manufacturing and public transit and include paid training with local providers and work based learning with local employers. 

The urgent labor demand for CDL drivers is clear; private employers and public agencies report that the shortage of trained CDL drivers is dramatically affecting their ability to operate. There are hundreds of job ads in the Central NY region for CDL-related jobs, covering dozens of occupations and employers.  Entry-level wages range from $26,000 - $51,000.  The workers in these jobs are 87% white and male, so this also presents an opportunity to use the tools we’ve built with Syracuse Surge and Syracuse Build to bring more women and people of color into these careers, while at the same time working with employers to build job quality, career advancement and more welcoming work environments.

The project will target un/underemployed individuals in the region, otherwise known as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), many of whom are working in low-wage jobs, could transition to higher-wage jobs with a CDL, but who cannot afford to stop working to do so.   Like other Work Train programs in the Syracuse Surge and Syracuse Build initiatives, all participants will be paid for their time in training so they can reduce work hours and make a transition into a new career.


The consultant’s role is to help establish an industry partnership with local CDL trainers and employers. Working closely with the Work Train team and our core partners, the consultant will be responsible for the following:

  • Use the Work Train model to convene local employers interested in partnering on CDL curriculum, work-based learning, hiring and DEI practices. 

  • Establish work-based learning partnerships and plans with 3-5 employers, where prospects are conditionally hired and trained to receive their CDLs. 

  • Consolidate and incorporate jobseeker and employee feedback, to be collected by Work Train staff, into candidate profile and program recommendations and materials.

  • A written document including employer profiles, a CDL program candidate profile and program design recommendations, including sample MOUs. 

  • Establish a partnership that will result in CenterState CEO entering an MOU with at least one CDL training provider and 3-5 employers to pilot a CDL training program. 


The consultant would begin work in April and continue through July, with program implementation starting in August. 


Proposals will be accepted until April 14, 2023. We will entertain proposals from individuals or teams. Please submit your proposal electronically to using the subject CDL Workforce Project RFP Response. Please submit your proposal, including a description of your approach to this process, your relevant experience and project cost


  • Demonstrated understanding of CDL license training requirements including different types of CDL licenses, and occupations that require CDL licenses as well as adjacent occupations.

  • Demonstrated experience working with employers to understand workforce challenges and facilitation of employer conversations

  • Project Approach and Implementation – What is your approach to this project and process for partnering with us? 

  • Clear understanding of the challenges faced and needs of the program.

  • Value/Pricing – Price is commensurate with the value offered.

  • Timing – Work to begin immediately.

  • Commitment to and valuation of diversity, equity and inclusion.

  • Subcontracting – Will any portion of the work be subcontracted? Are you willing to subcontract with MWBEs?

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