BY Amanda Sotelo
Texas State Technical College’s continuing education Commercial Driver License (CDL) course is approaching its second year, and has acquired partnerships with companies that are hiring the program graduates.
Coordinator of Special Projects for the Transportation Training Center Adan Treviño said gaining nearly 15 partnerships has been a huge advantage for the program and its students.
“This opportunity opens doors not only for the students being hired, but for our future students as well,” said Treviño. “I keep communication open with our companies to maintain the relationship and make sure our students continue meeting the industry’s demand for truck drivers.”
TSTC’s CDL hiring partners include – UPS Inc., FedEx, Celadon, Labatt Food Service, HEB, Valley Trucking, Home Depot Inc., Coca-Cola, Hygeia, Petro Chem Transport Inc., Heyl Truck Lines, Werner Enterprises, Paschall Truck Lines (PTL), Swift Transportation, Con-Way Freight and 7UP.
PTL Regional Student Development Manager Mike Rojas has hired TSTC CDL students in the past and is looking for new recruits.
“We hire people straight out of school,” said Rojas. “We want to give them the opportunity to get the experience they need. I used to be in their shoes, and I know how hard it can be, but TSTC is doing a good job at preparing them for the field.”
With students having the opportunity to get hired immediately, and laws continually changing, revisions have also been made to the program to continue to meet industry needs so students are more employable and readily trained for the workforce.
All program lessons are tailored to the Department of Motor Vehicles’ (DMV) exams that students must pass before receiving their truck driver’s license. Those taking the course will have access to practice tests, study materials and training videos, in addition to hands-on experience.
“We need to make sure our students are well educated in all areas,” said Treviño. “Our goal is have our students pass and create a successful career.”
Students enrolled in the CDL course can now also expect to graduate with endorsements, meaning they can become certified to handle hazardous materials, and in doubles and triples, which means they can pull multiple trailers.
Additionally, the CDL program has acquired a tanker trailer, making it the only CDL course in the Rio Grande Valley to have one, and a dry van trailer. Both trucks came from the TSTC campuses in Sweetwater and Abilene. In total, the program has three trailers in use for students’ training during the four-week course.
Many of the students who enroll in the TSTC commercial driving course are learning the skill for the first time. During this course they learn everything from theory to road rules.
The tuition for the classes is $4,500 and covers everything from books to supplies. Students coming in from the Workforce Solutions in Cameron County and Willacy County, and from the Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement (VIDA) receive tuition assistance. There is also a grant available for veterans.
“One thing that differentiates us from everyone else is that our students can choose where they want to work,” said Treviño. “We just give them the options.”
For more information on TSTC’s commercial driving class call Treviño at 956-364-4503.