(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Women are gradually changing the perception that driving commercial vehicles is for men only.
Neiva Martinez, of Brownsville, is one of those women. She is making an impact in Texas State Technical College’s Workforce Training and Continuing Education Professional Driving Academy as the program’s first-ever female CDL (commercial driver’s license) trainer.
“I was excited to teach new students because I also earned my CDL from this program,” Martinez said. “The main difference is that many policies have changed from four years ago. So I need to educate myself again.”
According to womenintrucking.org, women truck drivers make up 10% of those positions in the United States.
Martinez has been a TSTC CDL trainer for two months.
“We teach driving maneuvers such as parallel parking and offset backing,” she said. “We inform the students about a pre-trip inspection. This will ensure their truck is safe before they begin their practice driving through the Rio Grande Valley.”
Juan Hernandez, another TSTC CDL trainer, said Martinez brings a new level of training to the college’s Professional Driving Academy.
“Our program has had an influx of female students that are signing up for the CDL program,” Hernandez said. “Martinez’s expertise will relate to them. We have received many compliments about her instruction in a short time period.”
Before she started her job at TSTC, Martinez flourished in her trucking career with several area companies.
“At Sun Belt Transportation, I transported bulletproof glass, tires and (soft drink) products,” she said. “At Swift Transportation, my duty was to transport metals. Then at the Rio Grande Valley Sugar Growers Inc., I transported sugar cane. The opportunity to travel has been exciting because I was able to experience different cultures.”
Her interest in the industry was piqued through the influence of her godbrother.
“I came to a point in my life where I wanted a transition to a better-paying job,” she said. “My godbrother owns a trucking company. I found the freedom that truck drivers experience liberating.”
Martinez contacted TSTC’s CDL program to inquire about any trucking companies that had job opportunities.
“After I asked about any companies that were hiring, they mentioned they had a vacancy for a CDL trainer,” she said. “So I applied.”
She said giving back to the program has been rewarding.
TSTC’s Workforce Training and Continuing Education Professional Driving Academy program will begin its next eight-week course on June 27, 2022.
The hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 5 p.m., except holidays. Contact Linda Cavazos at 956-364-4553 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
To learn more about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.