Florida Educators Break Ground on CDL Training Academy

School Seeks Businesses for CDL Apprenticeships
Brevard CDL groundbreaking
The facility is scheduled to open in June. (Brevard Public Schools)

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Florida educators broke ground on a new commercial driver license training academy to alleviate a shortage not only in the state but also in the Southeastern region of the country.

Funded with a $3.8 million state grant, the CDL Training Academy at the Cocoa campus of Brevard Adult and Community Education is taking shape.

To celebrate the recent event, several local officials gathered, such as Cocoa Mayor Mike Blake and numerous educators from Brevard Public Schools, including School Board Chair Megan Wright and Board Member Katye Campbell.

Mark Rendell, school superintendent, remarked that having a CDL training facility will bring great benefits to surrounding communities as well as for all of eastern-central Florida.

“There is a shortage of CDL drivers. We’re going to help close the gap and meet that shortage with this program. The interesting thing is it’s not just going to benefit one segment of the community. Truck drivers, or CDL drivers, we rely on them for so many segments of the economy. So this is going to be big, not just for Brevard and our local communities, but the state and probably all of the Southeastern United States,” Rendell said.

Scheduled to open in June, the CDL program available will train students to hold CDLs in Class A, B or C. Brevard Public Schools is the 49th-largest district in the United States and the 10th biggest in Florida.

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Last year when state Sen. Tom Wright presented a $3.8 million ceremonial check to school officials to fund the new CDL facility, he said Florida had 60,000 positions that required a CDL. Wright helped champion the successful funding for the school program during Florida state legislative session last year.

Lorri Benjamin, director of Adult and Community Education at Brevard Public Schools, said the CDL training center will be augmented by an apprenticeship program that will help students gain hands-on experience while driving for local businesses.

“We are excited to be able to offer the program to our community and we are confident it will be able to help to address the severe driver demand for supply chain in the state of Florida,” Benjamin noted. “We are now a registered apprenticeship in the state of Florida and are now actively looking to partner with businesses and municipalities to provide the OJT [on-the-job training] portion of our CDL apprenticeship, which will be one of the many opportunities at our training facility.”