South Texas College and Trancasa set to roll out new CDL Program
“We know there is an urgent need for truck drivers, and we are planning a very robust program where students will be able to obtain their CDL driver’s license and get them on the road as soon as possible. We are hoping to expand it to our campus in Weslaco and then Starr County,”
South Texas College, in partnership with international ground transportation leader Trancasa, has set in motion a new commercial driver’s license program that will address a growing demand for drivers in the industry.
“This is a classic example of South Texas College reskilling and upskilling through education and training to meet regional and local labor demands,” said South Texas College president Dr. Ricardo J. Solis who brokered the partnership with Trancasa.
Trancasa CEO Carlos A. Canales Melhem, Texas Workforce Labor Commissioner Julian Alvarez, and Workforce Solutions Hidalgo County CEO Frank Almaraz joined the STC president Wednesday at a press conference announcing the new CDL program.
“We know that there is a great demand for truck drivers,” said Continuing Education Executive Director Olivia De La Rosa. “As a result, we have sped up our timeline to address this demand in our community by starting our first class by next month (January) and creating a five-week program where they will train and then test so they can find a job quickly.”
The first class is scheduled for Jan. 10, 2022, and the curriculum will meet the new Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). STC is currently in the process of becoming an approved training provider by FMCSA, which by law has to be approved before Feb. 7, 2022, which is the date new regulations go into effect.
The new CDL program is set to begin with two full-time instructors and two trucks leased by Trancasa. The course will consist of 200 total hours of instruction delivered over five weeks; 40 hours of classroom and computer lab instruction, as well as 160 hours of observation and driving on a training range and public roads.
“We have sped up our timeline to address this demand in our community by starting our first class by next month (January) and creating a five-week program where they will train and then test so they can find a job quickly.”
“Now, in partnership with STC, we are moving the world with a school devoted to the biggest and most in-demand transportation career - that of the CDL professional driver,” said Carlos Canales, CEO for Trancasa. “STC's educational expertise and our more than 30 years of international transportation expertise are combining to create a CDL school that will build the drivers of the present and the future. Together, Trancasa and STC are dedicated to delivering success to you.” Said Executive Director Ilse Vidaurri
Trancasa operates a fleet of 700 Trucks, 450 in Mexico and 250 in the United States. Each truck is equipped with anti-collision technology and cameras to facilitate training, 24/7 security, and maintenance support. A growing and diversified customer base on both sides of the border is supported by the company’s 1,250 employees.
Working with Trancasa, STC was able to develop a trucking program created entirely by the college. Previously, STC had relied on a private vendor, which conducted the courses and trained students. That contract expired in 2019, according to De La Rosa.
In its place is a program that will benefit from STC instruction and equipment, De La Rosa said.
“Since then, we've been exploring different options and instead of looking for somebody else to provide the training, we decided it was time for us to develop our own, which means that it will be our instruction, our instructors and our equipment,” De La Rosa said. “That's what we have been working on, and it has been a process. But now, especially because of the partnership with Trancasa, we were able to get trucks quickly and we were able to move up that timeline quite a bit.”
Trucking is a $791.7 billion industry that hauls 72.5 percent of all freight transported in the United States and employs about 6 percent of all full-time workers. An aging workforce however, combined with recent surges in labor shortages, has created a vacuum of around 80,000 truck drivers.
STC President Solis says the college recognizes how vital the industry is for the economy, and explained how expediting the training of drivers was included in the new CDL course by design.
“We know there is an urgent need for truck drivers, and we are planning a very robust program where students will be able to obtain their CDL driver’s license and get them on the road as soon as possible. We are hoping to expand it to our campus in Weslaco and then Starr County,” Solis said. “I refer back on my background in international trade and commerce to be able to bring all of my experience in those fields together to work here for the Valley, and to make STC a true center for workforce and economic development.”
For more information about the CDL course, please visit southtexascollege.edu/cdl.