Two Texas Colleges Win Grants to Train 660 CDL Students

Houston Community College Grant to Buy Two New Tractor-Trailers With Advanced Technologies
Houston Community College grant
Left to right: Dr. Michael Edwards, Charlene Ward Johnson, Dr. Margaret Ford Fisher, Joe Esparza, Dr. David Vogel, and Martin Garsee. (Houston Community College}

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Texas has awarded a total of $617,490 to two Texas colleges to train some 660 students to become heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, Gov. Greg Abbott announced recently when awarding $2.1 million in workforce development grants.

“Texas is the best state for business because of our diverse, highly skilled workforce,” Abbott said. “These grants will support career and technical training programs for young Texans in the Gulf Coast area so they can obtain the skills needed to thrive in high-demand industries. I thank the Texas Workforce Commission for their ongoing partnership with schools across our state as we help prepare students to enter the workforce of the future.”

The state funding comes from seven Jobs and Education for Texans grants allocated by the Texas Workforce Commission to seven schools in the Gulf Coast area. The grants support career and technical education training programs by helping the schools purchase and install equipment to initially train more than 1,500 students for such high-demand occupations as truck drivers, welders and registered nurses.

TWC Commissioner Joe Esparza presented the JET grants to the colleges. “Our job is to support the workforce system that continues to provide access to pipelines of our emerging workforce that are coming out of high school and coming out of these community colleges and taking advantage of these great opportunities,” Esparza noted.

Lee College, whose main campus is located in Baytown, will receive a $285,000 grant to train 100 students as heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers. The college serves an area of 220,000 residents.

A larger grant for $332,490 was awarded to Houston Community College to train 558 students as heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers. The money will pay for the college to add two tractor-trailers with newer technologies like adaptive cruise control, auto braking, lane departure sensors and disc brakes.

“The new trucks introduce students to high technology found in industry and the simulator allows students to train in a safe environment with less stress and helps HCC to prepare students for road conditions found in other regions outside of Texas that include heavy snow or mountainous areas,” said Martin Garsee, HCC transportation director.

Another new purchase is a fourth full-motion simulator enabling students to become familiar with components and concepts of truck maneuvers such as shifting, backing and turning before they get inside a vehicle.

“The new simulator increases our capacity to train 25% more students than we can accommodate, and these improvements will help assure that HCC graduates are among the best in the industry,” said HCC System Chancellor Margaret Ford Fisher.

HCC offers six- and 12-week commercial driver license classes during days, evenings and weekends.

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