FleetForce Truck Driving School, based in Winter Haven, has announced plans to open two new training facilities, one in Fort Myers and one in Venice.
FleetForce currently operates driver training schools in Winter Haven, Palm City and on the Bradenton campus of State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. The new site in Venice will expand the partnership between FleetForce and SCF, according to a statement.
FleetForce President Tra Williams joined leaders from the trucking industry at an event in Bradenton last week to announce the two new locations and celebrate the success of a newly launched pre-hire program designed to recruit more drivers.
“If we’re serious about addressing the growing truck driver shortage, we have to be innovative and create a new model for recruiting and training drivers,” Williams says in the statement. “Drivers are retiring faster than we’re replacing them, and we must be willing to do things differently if we want to attract people to the trucking industry. This collaboration is a big step in the right direction.”
The program — a partnership between FleetForce, Florida Trucking Association, State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota and multiple trucking companies — removes the financial barrier for people who want to go through driver training school, the release states. Trucking companies that are FTA members pay the tuition costs up front, with an agreement to hire the student once they complete the course and receive their CDL.
“The image of the trucking industry is changing, and the way we recruit professional truck drivers needs to reflect this change,” Florida Trucking Association President and CEO Alix Miller says in the release. “The pre-hire program opens doors by eliminating barriers for those who may not have considered a career in trucking — and it has already proven to be a huge success; since the program’s launch, about 5,000 aspiring drivers have applied.”