Food distributor successfully turns warehouse workers into drivers

Driver in his truck
Dillon Farmer, a graduate of UNFI’s Warehouse to Wheels Program

United Natural Foods, Inc. recently announced its Warehouse to Wheels program has grown by more than 300% over the past two years and is now available to associates at a majority of the company's 56 distribution centers.

Originally developed at a single UNFI distribution center to help combat a driver shortage, today the program is offered to eligible distribution center associates interested in obtaining the training necessary to receive their Class A CDL license while being employed by UNFI. Associates completing the 12-week program become full-time UNFI truck drivers with assigned routes and opportunities to earn higher wages and annual safe driving bonus

According to a statement from the company, one of the priorities underpinning UNFI’s Fuel the Future strategy is to create career opportunities for associates. The Warehouse to Wheels program is a unique example of how the company is supporting its frontline associates, eliminating financial barriers or time constraints to allow them to pursue career advancement, and making it easy for them to learn the skills and earn the certifications needed to become a fully licensed truck driver. For UNFI, the program aids its open driver recruitment efforts while helping to create a pipeline of skilled drivers.

“In many ways, drivers are the face of our company, and we rely on them every day to deliver the widest variety of products to over 30,000 customer locations,” said Mark Bushway, UNFI’s chief supply chain officer. “Today, more than ever, traditional career paths are being challenged and the “Warehouse to Wheels” program offers associates a unique opportunity for career growth while creating stability for our operations and within our supply chain.”

Among the graduates of the Warehouse to Wheels Program is Dillon Farmer, who started with UNFI as a loader at the company’s distribution center in New York's  Hudson Valley in 2018.

“I took my role as a loader seriously as I knew how important it was to ensure each trailer was loaded properly and in a timely manner for our drivers. As my family grew and I looked to take the next step in my career, driving for UNFI was the perfect option. Participating in the Warehouse to Wheels program helped make it all happen and I’m so grateful for the opportunity,” said Farmer.

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UNFI truck drivers manage the nearly 16 billion pounds of food the company delivers each year. The Warehouse to Wheels program is expected to help fill approximately 10-15% of UNFI’s annual truck driver needs. 

UNFI delivers products to more than 30,000 locations throughout North America,