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Walmart expands pilot for employees to become truck drivers

Walmart’s private trucking fleet employs more than 13,000 drivers.

Walmart is expanding an initiative to attract new drivers for its private fleet — using its existing workforce.

In April 2022, the retail giant launched its Associate-to-Driver training program, which gave its supply chain workers in select parts of the country the chance to earn a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and became full-fledged drivers in Walmart’s private fleet of more than 13,000 drivers. To date, Walmart has trained 56 associates from various supply chain roles to become drivers.

The retailer is now expanding the pilot to make employees working in stores, distribution centers, fulfillment centers and transportation offices within a 50-mile radius of one of Walmart’s Fleet Development Training Centers eligible to apply to the program. The expansion will take in 439 Walmart store locations.

Employees who complete the 12-week training course and earn their CDLs will have a Walmart driving job ready to step into, the retailer said. Walmart drivers can make up to $110,000 in their first year. Also, drivers who have been with Walmart longer can earn even more, based on factors such as tenure and location, the company said.

Walmart noted that the American Trucking Association has awarded the company the Safest Fleet in the Over 250 Million Mile Division for six consecutive years.

“The Associate-to-Driver program allows participants to learn driving from the best of the best – our current Walmart driving instructors,” stated Fernando Cortes, senior VP, transportation, Walmart. “Our fleet is continually recognized for its commitment to safety. By training our new drivers in this program from day one, we can help guide them to approach all parts of the job focusing on the values of safety, courtesy and pride so that we will never disappoint our fleet, customers or families.”

Walmart is expanding its efforts to hire more truck drivers amid a shortage of truck drivers. According to data from the American Trucking Associations, the U.S. trucking industry is short 80,000 drivers, an all-time high.

The shortage existed pre-pandemic, as evidenced by efforts Walmart launched to hire more drivers in 2018 and 2019, but has grown worse since then. Truck drivers move 71% of the U.S. economy's goods.

According to projections by the American Trucking Associations, based on driver demographic trends, including gender and age, as well as expected freight growth, the shortage could surpass 160,000 drivers in 2030.

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