John, Sonia Sahling create endowed scholarship for students getting CDL

John-Sonia-SahlingKEARNEY – John and Sonia Sahling of Kearney have donated 5,000 to create an endowed scholarship fund for students getting a Commercial Driver’s License through the Nebraska Safety Center at the University of Nebraska Kearney.

The scholarship fund will annually provide five ,000 scholarships non-traditional students, the Kearney Area Community Foundation announced Tuesday.

“Sonia and I believe in giving back to our community that has been so good to us over the years. We understand that there is a growing need in the Kearney area to provide education for workers in our community that want to better themselves by improving their skills,” John Sahling said. “We hope this endowed scholarship fund will provide assistance to community members forever.”

John’s father, Bob, sold new and used trucks before starting the Sahlings’ own Kenworth franchise in 1973, which grew to include operations in Kearney, York and Columbus. John owned and operated the company for the last 20 years and was Sahling Kenworth’s president.

“I love the Sahlings’ vision. By providing non-traditional students with a training opportunity, they can begin to earn better wages,” said KACF Executive Director Judi Sickler. “By getting a CDL, it improves the quality of life for those that want to live and work in Kearney.

“In return, this has a ripple effect, by helping local businesses and employers retain and attract the skilled labor they need to be successful and grow their business,” Sickler added. “The need for this type of nontraditional scholarship was brought to the Sahlings, and without hesitation they were on board.”


There are a limited number of $2,000 scholarships available to attend the Nebraska Safety Center’s Professional Truck Driver Training and obtain a Commercial Driver’s License. Applications are due Oct. 19.

Contact the Nebraska Safety Center at 308-865-8256 to learn more about the program, to make arrangements to pick up an enrollment packet and a scholarship application form.

Scholarships are available to qualified students 19-21 years of age to obtain an intrastate CDL Class A; and for students age 21 and older to obtain an interstate CDL Class A.

Classes will be provided through the Nebraska Safety Center at UNK. The training lasts 4-6 weeks with flexible scheduling available.

Mick Anderson, director of the Nebraska Safety Center at UNK, said drivers with a CDL can earn a starting salary as high as $45,000 a year.

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