The Coca-Cola Company has started a brand new initiative to help promote the technical college system’s truck driving program, and a tour as part of the programming will bring a Coca-Cola truck to Southeastern Technical College next month.
On Friday, Coca-Cola announced a $1 million donation to the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) Foundation for the systems’s commercial truck driving program. The Coca-Cola Company also announced at that time “Delivering the Future: The Coca-Cola System & Technical College System of Georgia Truck Tour” to raise awareness of TCSG’s commercial truck driving program and career opportunities with local bottler Coca-Cola UNITED.
“As residents and businesses across the state work to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to invest in our communities and provide opportunities that will improve the lives of our fellow Georgians,” said Alfredo Rivera, President of The Coca-Cola Company’s North America Operating Unit. “We are proud of our Georgia roots and will continue to do our part to keep Georgia strong.”
Businesses and consumers rely on Georgia’s trucking industry, which moves more than 435 million tons of goods across the state each year as the logistics and transportation hub of the southeast (Georgia Department of Transportation, 2019). Today, this industry is facing challenges, having lost 6 percent of its workers nationally since the COVID-19 pandemic began, compounding an existing driver shortage that is expected to top 160,000 by 2028 (American Trucking Associations, 2019).
“Despite the challenges of the last two years, the trucking industry remained steadfast as a foundational driver of the nation’s economy, delivering essential goods to help businesses stay open and to reopen,” said Mark Rahiya, Technical and Innovation Officer of The Coca-Cola Company. “By supporting TCSG’s Commercial Truck Driving Program trainers and faculty, we’re making sure the next generation of drivers gets a world-class education while simultaneously working to address the driver shortage and provide opportunity for Georgians.”
The $1 million investment marks The Coca-Cola Company’s latest effort to help facilitate Georgia’s economic development and support critical job training and opportunities across its home state. By creating 11 new full-time instructor roles and two part-time instructor roles, the investment supports TCSG’s greatest need, recruiting and retaining talented trainers. In addition, the donation supplements the $8.32 million of support from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER II) that will provide facility upgrades, with the goal of doubling enrollment of commercial drivers across Georgia from 1,705 to 3,410 in 2023. Finally, this investment aims to ensure more drivers are in the pipeline to help fill trucking industry jobs with local Coca-Cola bottler Coca-Cola UNITED and other businesses across the state.
“We are grateful for our partnership with The Coca-Cola Company and Coca-Cola UNITED and look forward to leveraging this investment to attract more best-in-class trainers who are the foundation of our program,” said Greg Dozier, Commissioner, Technical College System of Georgia. “With the expansion of the program, this investment will allow us to prepare more commercial truck drivers to enter the industry, helping to ensure the continued transport of goods upon which we rely across the state.”
To raise awareness of TCSG’s commercial truck driving program and related career opportunities, The Coca-Cola Company is rolling out the “Delivering the Future: The Coca-Cola System & Technical College System of Georgia Truck Tour.”
“The Coca-Cola truck will make stops in five communities across the state, including Savannah, Athens, Vidalia, Macon and Tifton,” said Gianetta Jones, Vice President and Chief People Officer for Coca-Cola UNITED. “In Georgia, we’re fortunate to be able to hire drivers from TCSG’s world-class commercial truck driving program. Our goal is to raise awareness of the program and trucking industry opportunities available right in our home state, most specifically the 85 open commercial driving opportunities currently available with Coca-Cola UNITED.”
The “Delivering the Future: The Coca-Cola System & Technical College System of Georgia Truck Tour” will make five stops from May 17 to May 26 and will offer entertainment, refreshments and activities along with the opportunity to learn about Coca-Cola UNITED job opportunities and TCSG’s commercial truck driving program enrollment process.
The tour will begin Tuesday, May 17, with a visit to Southeastern Tech’s Vidalia campus.
Other tour stops and dates include: Central Georgia Technical College’s Macon campus on Wednesday, May 18; Savannah Technical College’s Savannah campus on Thursday, May 19; Athens Technical College’s Athens campus on Wednesday, May 25; and Southern Regional Technical College’s Tifton campus on Thursday, May 26.
The Coca-Cola Company, alongside Coca-Cola UNITED, has generated a positive economic impact in Georgia for more than 135 years. Today, with more than 30 Coca-Cola facilities across the sate employing more than 9,400 Georgians, the provides beverages for more than 41,000 Georgia businesses that offer daily refreshment for the state’s 10.5 million residents.
In addition to helping grow Georgia’s economy and supporting job opportunities for Georgians, The Coca-Cola Company has invested $13.8 million in Georgia since 2016 to improve community wellbeing, empower women and protect the environment where employees live and work. In addition, The Coca-Cola Foundation has invested $105 million since 2016 to support youth development and education, female entrepreneurs, access to clean water, water conservation and recycling programs across the state.