Winter Haven truck driving school works to recruit more women as driver shortage continues

FleetForce Truck Driving School in Winter Haven is making a special effort to recruit and train women because of a severe truck driver shortage.

The American Trucking Association reported that the industry was short 80,000 drivers last year, and the situation is going to get worse.

Sherita Brown has been taking the long drive from Sebring to Winter Haven five days a week to train. She admits it is easy to stay motivated when she thinks about the salary she expects to rake in when she gets a job soon.

"I will be looking at anywhere between $60,000 and $70,000 a year," Brown told FOX 13. 

She said that’s not a bad pay-off for a one-month program. Brown said she'll be able to buy more trucks in the future and increase her revenue. 

Emily Montoya of Plant City, who is just starting her career, was training to become a registered nurse. When COVID-19 hit, she decided to steer her career in a different direction.

READ: Gas prices may continue to decline, experts say

"I just didn’t want to be in that line [of work] to be on the front line of all of that," she said.

The president of the school said women are good students and good employees, and they shouldn’t have a hard time finding a job.

"Employers love hiring females," said Tra Williams, the president of FleetForce Truck Driving School. "Females job hop less often. They actually pass the test at a higher percentage than men do. They cause fewer accidents. As a result, they are cheaper to insure."

Before Greta Simmonds began teaching at the driving school, she was on the road for 15 years. During that time, Simmonds said she did get some double takes from male drivers.

MORE: Consumer prices rise to 6.3% in July as inflation begins to ease a bit

"They were like, okay," she recounted. "She is so short. I would pull up into places, and they would be, ‘Little you? Getting out of the truck?’"

Simmonds said once you've got your driving skills and can get around curves with bumping a curb, you're ready to drive. 

For more information about truck driver training, visit