Partnership trains Florida inmates to become commercial truck drivers

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida employs nearly 15% of all the commercial truck drivers in the nation, and there is a shortage. But a partnership between Florida Career Source and Florida HIRES (Helping Inmates Realize Employment Success) has trained more than three hundred inmates leaving prison, 30 of them to drive commercially over the last three years.

Tra Williams is the owner of Fleet Force Trucking, a driving school.

“Name another industry where I can train you for four weeks, test you to make sure you accomplished that training, and change your life fundamentally forever,” Williams said. “I challenge you to find another, but CDL is that industry.”

One success story is that of Thomas Cramer, who spend more than 20 years behind bars for a string of nonviolent robberies in 1999. He was released from the Department of Corrections this past December.

“When I got out, I took the ball and I ran with it,” Cramer said. “I now have my own house, my own car. I have an excellent position with Fleet Force, and now I have an opportunity to help others, and any time I can, anytime I can mentor, anytime I can show someone what it’s like and to focus on the future, and be successful once again.”

The program has the support of the Florida Trucking Association and the Florida Chamber.

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