Gov. DeSantis expands workforce training to boost number of Florida truck drivers

Governor announces millions in funding to state colleges

Florida Gov. DeSantis (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

NICEVILLE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis announced millions in funding to expand workforce training opportunities at state colleges aimed at increasing the number of truck drivers in Florida.

The governor was joined by Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. and CareerSource Florida CEO Michelle Dennard for a news conference on Thursday at Northwest Florida State College in Okaloosa County.

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DeSantis announced $8.2 million would expand commercial driver’s license, or CDL, training at five state colleges:

  • $2.6 million for Broward College
  • $1.5 million for Northwest Florida State College
  • $1.3 million for Valencia College
  • $1.3 million for Daytona State College
  • Over $1 million for State College of Florida

The governor also announced $12 million would be awarded to start or expand 40 registered apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs.

“They’re going to roll 3,200 apprenticeships and pre-apprentices and support over 50 businesses in the year. Now, this will not be limited to truck driving. This will include occupations like heavy equipment, drivers, electricians, construction, industrial technicians, and fiber optic technicians,” he said. “And so now not every one of those is necessarily a part of the supply chain, but all of those are vital functions in an economy that is working.”

Owner and president Tra Williams of FleetForce, a truck driving school, spoke at the news conference on the workforce expansion efforts made by the state.

“Despite our best effort, Florida currently has 5,000 fewer professional drivers than they did just a few years ago. And that is due in large part to inadequate capacity for CDL training. So this investment will ensure that the family-owned trucking companies who are our corporate partners and Florida Trucking Association and others will not see their family’s legacy obliterated by inflation and ironically named short-sighted legislation,” Williams said.

This news conference comes one day after DeSantis flew two planes of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, furthering a form of protest against the Biden administration’s border policies that’s become popular with fellow Republican governors Greg Abbot of Texas and Doug Ducey of Arizona.

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About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.