College Del Mar helps fill vacancies in the trucking industry
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The trucking industry is a vital part of shipping across the country and, locally, in Texas.
“A lot of people don’t realize that the trucking industry is huge. In the state of Texas alone, one in 16 people work in the trucking industry to some extent. 85% of all cargo is needed to travel by truck, ”said John Rojas, director of transportation training services at College Del Mar.
DMC offers a transportation training course, where students can obtain a commercial driver’s license in about four weeks (10 weeks for students taking evening classes). The course is open to anyone 18 years of age or older with a valid Texas driver’s license who can take a DOT physical and drug exam.
“If you can meet these requirements, you can earn your CDL and be on your way to a career that has great benefits,” Rojas said.
Students will work with instructors who have real world experience, such as DMC Asst. Director of Transportation Training Services Lynette Cervantes. Cervantes isn’t just a former driver who drove 48 states and Canada, she and her husband owned their own truck. She is also a former DMC student.
“When I first introduce myself to the students, I can tell them, ‘I was exactly where you are now. I was that scared person who’s never been near a truck. I did it, if I can do it you can do it, ”Cervantes said.
She also highlighted the importance of the trucking industry and how it affects everyone in almost everything they go through.
“If you eat it, have it, wear it, live in it, it all happened in a truck at one point,” she said.
Before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle, students must first go through a theoretical portion of the course, where they learn the laws and regulations they must follow, as well as the importance of managing their trucks.
After that, they practice driving on a state-of-the-art simulator, where the instructors can control the conditions.
The students then train with a truck in a college parking lot, before taking the truck on the road.
Some students take the course when they are young because they can make a lot of money at an entry level; transition to industry after working in another field.
“I’m in oil and gas, and there are a lot of ups and downs, so I wanted to continue my career with something that is always available and will always be there,” said Raymond Gonzales, current student.
“I’ve been a pipefitter for over 10 years and just needed to see if I could do something different,” said Noe Garza, another student. “I always wanted to be a truck driver, but this is the first chance, I was able to follow this little dream that I had.
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for truck drivers across the country.
“All of our local and national carriers need drivers, and they have trucks parked in their parking lots,” Rojas said. “These carriers have struggled to find qualified drivers, so they’re really focusing on schools that have a great curriculum and meet federal guidelines.”
DMC training is in high demand. Currently, the next available opening for the course is November 8, for daytime learning. Rojas said the program already included bookings for February evening classes.
“This is a great time to join the industry, we are doing everything in our power to help our community and the people who want to enter the trucking industry,” he said.