LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A partnership between a state prison reform group and the commercial driver’s license agency allows former prisoners to get truck driving jobs.

Benjamin Williams first thought about being a truck driver 10 years ago while in prison.

“I got out of prison January 13 of this year,” Williams said. “I did 23 years in prison.”

After a few months of searching for a career, Williams said Restore Hope Arkansas’ 100 Families initiative helped him obtain his CDL license.

“I’ve aligned myself with the right people in order to do the right thing to put myself in the right situations,” Williams said.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) created Restore Hope Arkansas (RHA) in 2015. The mission is to help people stay out of prison through employment or services they need. The organization partners with groups in the community that can help.

RHA recently partnered with the CDL Academy to create a four-week training program that places formerly incarcerated people in good-paying trucking jobs.

“People go [to prison,] do their time and rehabilitate themselves,” said Ozone Taylor, a CDL instructor. “As long as you’re dedicated and want to learn it, we’re here to help you.”

Williams said the freedom he lacked for more than 20 years is what he finds on the open road.

“My goal is to see all 48 continental states,” Williams said.

Williams said he hopes others going through similar circumstances continue to push for a better life.

“Just give yourself an opportunity,” Williams said. “If it’s hard, just continue. Don’t give up.”