In fall 2017, Tyson Foods began working with State Fair Community College’s The LearningForce,which offers a Commercial Driving Academy, as a way to meet the company’s need for quality truck drivers.

Tyson Foods Sedalia and corporate affiliates have approved the driving academy as a training program for Tyson’s driver apprentice positions.

Because of a shortage of truck drivers, Tyson Foods turned to The LearningForce to provide classroom and skills training for people interested in driving careers at Tyson. The four-week academy consists of classroom and driving training. Instructor Gary Willis teaches students the rules of the road, pre-trip inspection requirements, parking, backing and docking skills, and how to react properly to various types of traffic and road conditions.

“Our relationship with Tyson Foods demonstrates how SFCC is responsive to the needs of employers in our region,” said Amy Jackson, The LearningForce executive director. “We worked with Tyson Foods to understand their needs and formed a partnership that is successful, and we are happy to have Tyson’s endorsement for our Commercial Driving Academy.”

Ben McFarlin, Tyson Foods Human Resources manager II, is pleased with the success the company has had in filling positions with students who have completed the Commercial Driving Academy.

“Before our partnership with SFCC, our location struggled to hire enough drivers to meet our business needs,” said McFarlin. “Partnerships like this provide a pipeline of new apprentice drivers, which has helped us fill open positions across the fleet. The folks we have hired after completing the driver academy have been very well prepared with the skills required and the attitude needed to be successful in their new career with Tyson Foods, wherever that may be.”

The Commercial Driving Academy began with support from local distribution companies, and Ditzfeld Transfer continues largely to support the program. A new class begins each month. Upon completion, students will be prepared to earn a Class A CDL. Go to for details and application.

The LearningForce is SFCC’s workforce and economic development unit that provides businesses and individuals customized workforce training, professional development, entrepreneurial support, community education, and enrichment opportunities. The LearningForceoffers courses on site, online and on campus. For more information, visit, email or call (660) 530-5822 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In the photo: State Fair Community College’s The LearningForce offers a Commercial Driving Academy to train truck drivers. For more than a year, Tyson Foods has been using the academy to train its company drivers. A new class begins each month. 

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