With 4,000 CDL driver jobs open in the region alone, the Permian Strategic Partnership is donating $3.5 million to the Odessa College Truck Driving Academy to add more tracks, instructors, scholarships, and more. of large rig drivers on the road.
The investment announcement was made Wednesday at the Sewell Auto Tech facility at Odessa College.
“Investing in commercial driver certification is an important step in keeping the Permian Basin safe and providing training for high-demand, high-paying careers. , showing that there are approximately 4,000 open CDL positions in the Texas Permian area alone,” said Tracee Bentley, president and CEO of PSP.
Additionally, the Texas Department of Public Safety estimates that 65% of commercial vehicles in the Permian Basin are out of compliance. This is why PSP focused on being proactive in his CDL training as part of an effort to improve road safety. By adding nearly 100 students to the Odessa College program each year to take their first bite, West Texas and New He hopes to continue supporting his CDL training program in southeastern Mexico. We are confident that the quality and high standards of the Odessa College Truck Driving Academy will enable us to achieve success in training and retaining new truck drivers here in the Permian Basin,” said Bentley.
Bentley added that it would like to acknowledge that the initiative is a natural fit for the PSP, given its already successful education and healthcare partnerships with the OC.
She also said that the OC’s president, Gregory Williams, and his team at the university are among the best in the country, and that the region has a well-trained workforce, quality education, accessible healthcare, and a modernized transportation system. He added that he shares the PSP’s vision of making it known.
“This would not be possible without a partnership like this. We are pleased to continue to support the programs of Odessa College and look forward to working together on new and successful initiatives,” said Bentley. I’m here.
William Church, director of the Truck Driving Academy, said Wednesday’s event was a dream come true.
“Our mission is to educate students on the importance of safety, driving commercial vehicles, and understanding the rules and regulations under the FMCSR (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations). Starting with 2 instructors and averaging 60 students per year in the first 2 years, today the program has 10 trucks, 7 instructors and an average of over 140 students over the past 2 years. students are participating,” said Church.
“The contribution from the Permian Strategic Partnership will allow the trucker program to add trucks and trailers, which will help us grow our student enrollment to more than 200 annually in the future,” added Church. “With the help of knowledgeable and trustworthy instructors, we reach that goal.”
OC Truck Driving Academy graduate Celeste Venegas graduated in August and says the program has been great. She’s a single mother of her two boys and thinks it’s pretty cool for her mother to drive her 18-wheeler.
“I came here knowing nothing, but thanks to the excellent instructors at this school, I was able to come here as a safe driver,” says Venegas, who quickly got the job done.
“This school has taught me how to be a safe driver. How to drive with confidence on the road and how to enjoy driving…it can be stressful at times, but they have taught me a lot.” and now I can drive with my eyes closed,” she said.
“As a single mother, I always tell women that we can do it. I can still count on Mr. Church and the other instructors… when they told me their goal was for us to be safe and perfect, they really meant it. “They still answer all my questions. I am so grateful to be here and thank you for your teaching and motivational speeches every morning,” Venegas said. Told.
Church said the program’s growth could only get better and will continue to grow in the near future.
5 weeks of training. Obtaining the CDL is separate from training and his pass rate is 99.9% he has. According to Church, he has a 100% acceptance rate for students with the CDL.
If students failed their first test, Church said he would stay with them until they passed.
“One of the first things I told my students is that we are not going to leave them behind. People are 100 percent, or there may be couples who have had to quit because of family issues, and they can still get their licenses, Church said.
Advancement vice president Jacqui Gore said the investment has been underway since October.
Gore said the $3.5 million also includes installments for two more instructors, five 2024 Peterbilt trucks, three belly dump trailers, two flatbed trailers and five upgraded seats. increase. Truck Cab — Truck driving scholarships totaling $2 million.
“We provide a process for students who wish to apply for scholarships to apply through our Financial Aid Department and complete the FAFSA. based on the award of the Truck Driving Academy Scholarship,” said Gore.
They don’t currently have endowments, but something they could consider establishing as they work on the PSP.
“There may be other organizations in the region that would like to contribute, and that will help grow,” said Gore.