LISTEN: Supply Chain Crunch Has FL Shippers Pre-Paying Driver Tuition

(WINTER HAVEN, FL) -- There's a shortage of truck drivers, and that's contributing to bottlenecks in the supply chain.

Several Florida trucking companies and a Winter Haven based trucking school are trying something to get more drivers on the road. They're offering full tuition to students who'll take the course to get a commercial driver's license (CDL). Those who pass and meet other qualifications will have jobs waiting for them.

Fleet Force, a school based in Winter Haven, is vetting candidates for the tuition offer. Owner and president Tra Williams says twelve hundred drivers a week are lost to retirement nationwide, and that's more than the number of replacements getting a CDL license.

Williams says with inflation and other expenses, would-be drivers don't necessarily have the upfront money to pay six thousand dollars-plus for training. "The carriers we're working with really recognize their drivers to be their greatest asset."

In some cases, Williams says, trucking companies are paying bonuses to students while they train. He says this flips the traditional model on its head. Typically, drivers pay for the course and gradually receive reimbursement after getting hired.

Conditions include passing a DOT physical and a drug screen, as well as hiring requirements for individual carriers.

Listen to an interview with Tra Williams about the program below:

Photo: Getty Images

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