(HARLINGEN, Texas) – More women have changed the landscape for driving commercial vehicles, and that is being celebrated by Texas State Technical College’s Workforce Training and Continuing Education Professional Driving Academy as part of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week from Sept. 11 to 17.
Myra Martinez, of Harlingen, is one of those women. Her motivation to become a professional truck driver has been a driving force to succeed in TSTC’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) program in Harlingen.
“I wasn’t satisfied with the jobs I found with my college degree,” Martinez said. “The flexibility of job opportunities in the professional truck driving industry sounded interesting to me. I have several family members who work in the industry. They supported my decision to pursue it.”
Now Martinez is nearing completion of TSTC’s four-week CDL program. She and her fellow classmates will earn Class A CDLs upon passing the program’s in-house written exam and a hands-on driving test.
TSTC’s CDL program serves as a third-party Texas Department of Public Safety testing site, with CDL instructors who are state-certified examiners.
As Martinez transitions into the final fourth week, she has found fulfillment through the instructors’ expertise and the camaraderie in the program.
“Before I started this program, I’d never stepped foot inside or driven one of these commercial trucks,” she said. “During the first week I was a little nervous, but each instructor made me feel comfortable.”
Martinez said some of her favorite training lessons consist of pre-trip inspections and driving maneuvers.
“For pre-trip inspections, it’s been interesting to learn about the engine and the inside of the truck,” she said. “As for driving maneuvers, learning how to parallel park, perform offset backing and straight backing is challenging. But I am learning, and I enjoy the challenge.”
The vast industry experience of each instructor prepares the students for successful careers in the workforce.
“The instructors are incredibly knowledgeable,” Martinez said. “You can learn something different from each one if that information best suits your needs.”
Andrew Gonzalez, a TSTC CDL instructor, said Martinez is upbeat and possesses a can-do attitude.
“Myra is definitely ready to begin working,” Gonzalez said. “The game has changed. More companies are providing opportunities for both females and males who want to pursue a career in the commercial trucking industry.”
Ellen Voie, president and CEO of the Women in Trucking Association, said for more than 15 years the nonprofit organization has encouraged women to consider careers in the trucking industry.
“Our company is thrilled that women are accepting the challenge,” Voie said. “Not only are women succeeding, but they are excelling as professional drivers. Women are proven to be safer commercial drivers, which is a top factor in keeping our highways safer for all of us.”
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 email@example.com for more information.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.