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Polk County truck driving school offers free tuition amid driver shortage

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Posted at 8:04 PM, Dec 08, 2021

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Supply chain issues are highlighting the need for truck drivers.

Reynaldo Saez is close to completing his training at FleetForce Truck Driving School in Winter Haven.

“Right now, with the opportunities in the trucking industry and the money that can be made, I figured this is the best time,” said Saez.

The best part is he didn’t have to pay a dime. Trucking companies are in desperate need of drivers they launched a program so aspiring truck drivers don't have to pay for driving school.

“America needs 1.1 million truck drivers over the next 10 years and Florida needs about 25% of that number,” said Tra Williams, President of FleetForce Truck Driving School.

Williams is hoping FleetForce can address the dire need. Tuition at his school is more than $6,000. Now students can train at no cost and are guaranteed to have a job after they graduate.

“Most of the employers who recruit from within our ranks are offering sign-on bonuses. They have very robust healthcare plans, very robust retirement plans,” Williams said.

He said the truck driver shortage has been an issue way before the pandemic. More than 1,000 truckers in the U.S. retire every single week. At FleetForce they are working on recruiting female drivers to replace the ones leaving.

“Carriers are very excited about hiring females. They’re cheaper to insure, they cause fewer accidents. And we hope to allow females to realize that this is an industry for them as well,” Williams said.