Amid an already struggling industry, state and federal Department of Transportation (DOT) laws on commercial driver’s license (CDL) eligibility tightened in 2015, making it even harder for truck drivers to earn their CDL. In the wake of those changes, Waste Pro’s Corporate Operations Trainer Robert Bourcheau, a state-approved examiner and instructor, began working one-on-one with Waste Pro employees to train them as they studied for their CDL exam. That year, 30 Waste Pro helpers earned their CDL under Bourcheau’s mentorship.
In 2016, Bourcheau spearheaded the creation of Waste Pro’s Co-Heart program, which aims to help Waste Pro employees at all levels earn their CDL. Waste Pro is one of only two solid waste companies in Florida that works with the Florida DOT to offer such a program. Waste Pro’s Regional Operations Center in Sanford, Florida is a state-approved CDL testing site.
Since its creation, the Co-Heart program has led more than 150 helpers, drivers, and other employees to obtain their CDL. Graduates of the program have gone on to become lead drivers, supervisors, managers, and winners of Waste Pro’s $10,000 Safety Award – which Waste Pro is the only private company in the United States to offer. To qualify for the award, drivers must go three years without accidents, injuries, or property damage. None of the people who have completed the program have had an accident or property damage claim. “My students, supervisors, trainers, and division managers work closely to make this all happen in a systematic way resulting in success for the driver, the company, and the communities we serve,” Bourcheau said.
Currently, the Co-Heart Program is evolving to include additional training for participants, including advanced backing and driving skills, rollover prevention, and more. In addition to the Co-Heart Program, Waste Pro opened two Driver Training Centers (DTC) in 2018 – one in Sanford and one in the Atlanta, Georgia Regional Operations Center. These facilities allow newly-hired drivers and employees who have recently obtained their CDL to attend a five-day education course, covering topics including safety, vehicle specifics, and customer service.