Del Mar College Program offers grant for former military to become truck drivers

Posted at 4:33 AM, Apr 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-10 05:33:03-04

With driver shortages across the country, training to become a trucker can be a good bet for employment.

Del Mar College is offering military service members preparing to enter the civilian workforce a no-cost path to careers in the trucking industry, courtesy of a grant from the Texas Workforce Commission.

"It’s a great opportunity. The industry needs good qualified drivers, and the veterans are just the perfect fit for the program," said John Rojas, DMC director of Transportation Training Services.

"This job is booming in the state of Texas. I think it is the number one job right now. The more veterans we can help get into this work force the better," said DMC Director of the Veterans Center EJ Goodroe.

Through the Skills for Transition Program, the Texas Workforce Commission pays tuition costs for recently or soon-to-be discharged service members who want to earn a Class A Commercial Driver’s License.

"Our program usually puts through about 25-30 students per month and that is just scratching the surface with the demand that the trucking industry and our local and national employers need," said Rojas.

Along with Del Mar and the Texas Workforce Commission, another partner in the initiative is U.S. Xpress, Inc., one of the largest trucking companies in the country.

"Qualified candidates are going to get pre-hired with U.S. Xpress to come through this program, and they can either take a 4 week day program or a 10 week evening program to be on their way to a rewarding career in the trucking industry," said Rojas.

This program will enable veterans to earn money while they’re in training.

"Out of the 200 hour program, 60 hours of that is classroom, and the other portion of training is all hands-on training. The backing maneuvers, the driving, and getting them ready to take their test. We are now certified third party testers.  Our students are able to test for their license here on campus instead of going through the DPS office which saves a lot of time because there is a 6-8 week wait there," said Rojas.

Generally, the Skills for Transition Program is open to military service members preparing to separate from service in the next six months (180 days) or who have been discharged within the past six months and plan to remain in Texas.

Other requirements:

  • Service members must have obtained career counseling in order to determine suitability towards specific training. 
  • Service members on active duty will be required to receive permission from the commanding officer to participate in training. Separated service members must have a DD-214. 
  • Veterans must not have received a dishonorable discharge. 

Active duty service members must contact the Command Transition Officer at Naval Air Station-Corpus Christi at (361) 961-2372; veterans may contact the Del Mar College Veterans Center at (361) 698-1683 for enrollment information. 

The Skills for Transition Program is part of the Texas Operation Welcome Home Program coordinated by the Office of the Governor, Texas Workforce Commission, Texas Veterans Commission and Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. 

The goal of Texas Operation Welcome Home is to provide a clear pathway for military service members to transition to employment in Texas as they enter civilian life. 

According to the TWC, close to 20,000 service members transition from Texas military facilities to civilian life each year. Currently, close to 40,000 veterans are searching for employment in Texas, the TWC states.