BY Amanda Sotelo
Francisco Vega just graduated from the Texas State Technical College Professional Driving Academy and is waiting to take his certifying exam, but he decided to get a head start on his job search during a trucking information session and job fair recently hosted by TSTC’s Workforce Training and Continuing Education department.
“It’s not just about driving a truck,” he said. “There is so much more to being a truck driver than most people realize, but TSTC has prepared us for that, and by hosting this event it shows that they really do care about our success.”
This is the second year that TSTC has hosted the job fair, but it is the first year that government agencies have made presentations to academy Commercial Driver’s License students and alumni.
Those in attendance heard from representatives of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Transportation (DOT). The representatives spoke about the increase in drug trafficking and human smuggling, as well as the rules and regulations that need to be followed while on the road.
TSTC Continuing Education Special Projects Coordinator Adan Trevino said there have been changes and updates to Department of Motor Vehicles rules and regulations that students and alumni need to be aware of.
“It’s important that our students become well-rounded drivers,” he said. “And by providing this type of outreach, we can keep them updated on changes and increase awareness on the issues drivers come across.”
Steve Rodriguez, DOT motor carrier safety inspector, said many of the challenges and accidents truck drivers face on the road are preventable.
“Our mission is to save lives by teaching safety,” he said. “And by TSTC giving us the opportunity to have these one-on-one discussions with future drivers, we get to spread our message — because it all starts with them.”
Recruiters from trucking companies Heyl, Paschall Truck Lines, Trailboss, Unimex Logistics and Werner Enterprises also took the stage to talk about their companies and the qualifications they look for in new hires.
Trevino, like Vega, said academy students and alumni want to begin their careers in the industry, and the opportunity to meet recruiters from some of the leaders in the trucking industry is an advantage many do not get.
“Looking around at today’s event, I see how engaged our students and alumni are,” he said. “It’s safe to say we’ve made an impact, and this is something we’ll continue doing for them.”
As for Vega, he was glad many of the recruiters he met were local. He hopes to stay in the Rio Grande Valley and already has a list of possible employers.
For more information on TSTC’s Professional Driving Academy, call 956-364-4503 or visit tstc.edu.