Texas State Technical College hosted state Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, for a visit to the Marshall campus last Wednesday.

Nichols, led by TSTC staff, visited the college’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) training program, along with the automation and controls technology and precision machining technology programs.

“It was a pleasure to host the senator,” said Barton Day, provost of TSTC’s Marshall campus. “He understands the impact of the shortfall of commercial drivers we are trying to address.”

Nichols said he wanted to visit TSTC because of its CDL training program.

“I was very impressed with what they do and how they are doing it,” he said.

Nichols said an expansion of CDL training at TSTC would be good not only for East Texas, but also for the state. He said seeing how TSTC fits into increasing the training statewide is on his list for next year’s session of the Texas Legislature.

TSTC’s Workforce Training department currently offers a four-week CDL training program at the Fort Bend County, Harlingen and Marshall campuses. TSTC works with a third party to teach CDL training to electrical lineworker technology students.

Steven Williamson, an instructor in TSTC’s precision machining technology program, told Nichols about what students learn and their job prospects. He said TSTC’s career services department can help students make connections to industry partners that need workers.

“To me, it makes me feel like they (legislators) are interested in what we are doing as a college and what we are doing to train the workforce in Texas,” Williamson said.

Nichols represents state Senate District 3, which encompasses a large swath of Texas’ east and southeast regions. He is the chair of the state Senate Transportation Committee and a former state transportation commissioner.

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