(WACO, Texas) – Students enrolling this fall in Texas State Technical College’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program in Waco will have the opportunity to take a restructured commercial driver’s license class.
The program’s students had previously learned how to drive commercial vehicles on campus.
But now, students in their third semester at TSTC will take a driving course through McLennan Community College and the American Truck Driving School in Elm Mott. The first class will be taught in summer 2020.
The class is backed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which regulates all registered commercial motor vehicles for interstate freight, passenger and hazardous materials transportation.
“It cuts down on costs for the employer and makes the student more sellable,” said Eric Carithers, TSTC’s statewide chair for the Electrical Lineworker Technology program.
Representatives of area electric providers said having a CDL is vital for job candidates.
“As an electric utility, it’s imperative for us to have employees with a CDL,” said Bryan Blanton, a distribution system manager at Southwestern Electric Power Co. in Longview and chair of TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker Technology advisory board. “It will be a huge success when graduates come out of TSTC’s linemen program already having their CDL.”
Craig Ptomey, program manager of craft and field training at Austin Energy, said having a commercial driver’s license is a preferred qualification for applicants.
“It is very advantageous for our company to have a new hire that has already met that requirement before we even hire them,” Ptomey said. “In turn, it gives them a better chance of being hired, as we do not have to spend time and money and other resources in training them. I think that TSTC does a great service to both their students and the companies that hire them by ensuring that students have their CDL before graduating.”
TSTC students will first need to get a commercial driver’s license permit before the end of their second semester, said Carithers.
“The students are required to have their permit and also a copy of their driving record,” he said. “They need a driving record for every state they have lived in the last seven years. They also need to undergo a drug screening.”
For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to www.tstc.edu.