In-house paid training program helps UNFI associates fulfill career advancement by obtaining their Class A CDL license and a future UNFI truck driving assignment
United Natural Foods, Inc. (“the Company” or “UNFI”) today announced that its Warehouse to Wheels program has grown by more than 300% over the past two years and is now available to associates at a majority of UNFI’s 56 distribution centers. Originally developed at a single UNFI distribution center to help combat a driver shortage, today the program is offered to eligible distribution center associates interested in obtaining the training necessary to receive their Class A CDL license while being employed by UNFI. Associates completing the 12-week program become full-time UNFI truck drivers with assigned routes and opportunities to earn higher wages and annual safe driving bonuses.
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Dillon Farmer, a graduate of UNFI’s Warehouse to Wheels Program started with the company as a loader at UNFI’s Hudson Valley, N.Y. distribution center in 2018. The In-house paid training program helps UNFI associates fulfill career advancement by obtaining their Class A CDL license and a future UNFI truck driving assignment. (Photo: Business Wire)
One of the priorities underpinning UNFI’s Fuel the Future strategy is to create unmatched career opportunities for associates. The Warehouse to Wheels program is a unique example of how the Company is supporting its frontline associates, eliminating financial barriers or time constraints to allow them to pursue career advancement, and making it easy for them to learn the skills and earn the certifications needed to become a fully licensed truck driver. For UNFI, the program aids its open driver recruitment efforts while helping to create a pipeline of skilled drivers.
According to the American Trucking Association, the trucking industry is short approximately 78,000 drivers and based on current driver demographic trends, as well as projected growth in freight demand, the shortage could swell to more than 160,000 over the next decade.
“In many ways, drivers are the face of our company, and we rely on them every day to deliver the widest variety of products to over 30,000 customer locations,” said Mark Bushway, UNFI’s Chief Supply Chain Officer. “Today, more than ever, traditional career paths are being challenged and the “Warehouse to Wheels” program offers associates a unique opportunity for career growth while creating stability for our operations and within our supply chain.”
Among the graduates of the Warehouse to Wheels Program is Dillon Farmer, who started with UNFI as a loader at the Company’s Hudson Valley, N.Y. distribution center in 2018.
“I took my role as a loader seriously as I knew how important it was to ensure each trailer was loaded properly and in a timely manner for our drivers. As my family grew and I looked to take the next step in my career, driving for UNFI was the perfect option. Participating in the Warehouse to Wheels program helped make it all happen and I’m so grateful for the opportunity,” said Farmer.
UNFI truck drivers manage the nearly 16 billion pounds of food the Company delivers each year. The Warehouse to Wheels program is expected to help fill approximately 10-15% of UNFI’s annual truck driver needs. For external drivers interested in exploring UNFI as a career opportunity, please visit UNFI’s recruiting site at: https://www.unfi.com/careers-drive-unfi.
UNFI is North America's premier grocery wholesaler delivering the widest variety of fresh, branded, and owned brand products to more than 30,000 locations throughout North America, including natural product superstores, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains, ecommerce providers, and food service customers. UNFI also provides a broad range of value-added services and segmented marketing expertise, including proprietary technology, data, market insights, and shelf management to help customers and suppliers build their businesses and brands. As the largest full-service grocery partner in North America, UNFI is committed to building a food system that is better for all and is uniquely positioned to deliver great food, more choices, and fresh thinking to customers. To learn more about how UNFI is Fueling the Future of Food, visit www.unfi.com.