WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — As the city of Warner Robins grows, city leaders hope the workforce will grow, too.
The city is looking for innovative ways to add employees, and let current ones hop in the driver's seat.
Councilmembers agreed to offer free certified drivers license training to city employees at Tuesday night's council meeting.
"We went the extra mile to make sure we're doing something extra in Warner Robins to keep our great employees here and allow them to advance in their careers," says Mayor LaRhonda Patrick.
Public Works Director Craig Clifton say classes will be offered at the Public Works Department during work hours so folks wouldn't have to create extra time to attend.
"40 hours of classroom training plus 40 hours of roadside training, that they go through. Also, we use our own vehicles and own trucks, so that takes away some of the expenses away from the employees," says Clifton.
Clifton says classes will be led by one former employee, and three current public works employees with over 58 years of driving and training experience.
The training is an opportunity that comes with more than a new license.
"Along with the CDL comes the advancement of their careers," Clifton adds.
Folks within the Public Works Department could move up to heavy equipment operators. It will also help fill vacancies in the utilities department.
"We've received requests from the fire department, also," said Clifton during the council meeting.
The program started in 2022 as a reimbursement program, where folks would have to pay upfront. Classes range from $3,000 - $5,000. Nathaniel Moore is their first graduate. He says the opportunity is life changing.
"I was just ground maintenance. I operate on a tractor and a lawnmower, I never thought that I'd be able to operate a truck," says Moore
He says the training was so helpful, the test came easy.
Now he hopes to soon find himself in a bigger driver seat.
"I just feel great to be able to go forward and get my CDL and to have a better life, and to just be better for my family," he adds.
Employees who go through the program will still have to take a state test before getting their CDL license.
In addition, employees will have to sign an agreement that if they quit within 12 months of the training, they would owe the city anywhere from $900 to $1,200.