Governor DeSantis announces $ 3.1 million grant to train commercial truck drivers at FSCJ campus in Yulee – Action News Jax


NASSAU COUNTY, FL – The State of Florida is trying to find a solution to the truck driver shortage we’ve seen across the country, which is also contributing to supply chain issues and delaying the flow of items. consumption where it needs to be on time. .

“There is a great shortage of truck drivers in the United States,” Governor Ron DeSantis said Thursday at a press conference at Florida State College on the Jacksonville campus in Yulee.

Adding to the concerns is the fact that some truckers are getting ready to retire.

“Who will come behind them?” Asked DeSantis. “There haven’t been enough people so far to get into this,” he added.

Florida’s solution: train more drivers.

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DeSantis announced that the state will provide a grant of $ 3.1 million to fund the Nassau County Transportation Education Initiative. This is the first program of its kind in Nassau County to help FSCJ students become the next generation of truck drivers.

Students will be able to start registering for face-to-face classes over the next two months, and over the next 12-18 months, a training platform will be built on campus for students to train for. inside truck cabs and obtain their commercial driver’s license. (CDL), which includes Class BA Class B CDL is required to drive commercial trucks that have an attached cab and cargo area with a combined weight greater than 26,000 pounds, as well as trucks with a towed cargo vehicle detached that weighs less than 10,000 pounds.

The grant money will allow 120 graduates to complete all the necessary training each year. “You can make a lot of money, really up front if you get the right workout,” DeSantis said.

Except we’ve heard from drivers that the pay gap is always a problem.

“At any time [a] The CEO can make over $ 2.4 million with a business per year, and a driver earns $ 30,000 per year, there is a big disparity there, ”said a truck driver in Virginia.

According to JAX Chamber, the average truck driver here earns $ 42,000 per year, although some positions offer more.

Most new jobs also offer between $ 1,200 and $ 2,000 per week. You can find new vacancies here.

And right now, the disparity Florida is focusing on is driver and demand disparity.

“It is estimated that we would need 80,000 additional truck drivers just to meet the growing demand in this state,” said FDOT Secretary Kevin Thibault.

Demand that must be met for supplies to get where they need to be.

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“Wayfair, Walmart, Amazon and everyone else all rely on a healthy trucking industry to move their goods,” said Aundra Wallace, chair of the JAXUSA Partnership, the regional economic development arm of JAX Chamber.

The hope is that this new education initiative will give way to a healthy trucking industry in Northeast Florida for years to come.

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