More skilled truck drivers will be on the highways, thanks to an alliance between Arrow Truck Sales and Texas State Technical College.

Brock Gavin, president of Arrow Truck Sales, said partnering with TSTC’s Professional Driving Academy was a perfect opportunity to showcase the need for commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders in the state.

The collaboration was celebrated during a donor recognition event held at TSTC’s Marshall campus on Tuesday, Oct. 25.

“We see this partnership rooted in a common interest for Arrow Truck Sales and TSTC,” Gavin said. “Our goal is to fill the void in the professional workforce with skilled jobs. We are excited to be part of today’s event and for the months and years to come with this partnership.”

Gavin said working with TSTC has been a win-win experience for his company.

“Working with the team at TSTC has been fabulous,” he said. “We look forward to seeing how this donation will have an impact on the program and the industry.”

Bart Day, provost of TSTC’s Marshall campus, said Gavin chose to invest in the future with his donation of a tractor-trailer to the college’s Professional Driving Academy.

“There has been no time that I can think of that there has been a bigger need for CDL drivers,” Day said.

Cledia Hernandez, TSTC’s associate vice chancellor of External Relations and Workforce Development, agreed.

“There is a huge demand for drivers across the state,” she said. “This is our zero-to-hero program because it takes four weeks to become certified.”

After completing the four-week program, students will be able to control and maneuver a vehicle in various traffic situations and safely back through different obstacles. They will also be able to inspect and determine the condition of critical vehicle components, including instruments and controls; engines and drivetrains; chassis and suspensions; steering, brake and coupling systems; emergency equipment; and cargo securement devices.

State Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Tyler, said the relationship will provide opportunities to fill a void in the workforce while also keeping supplies moving along highways.

“Today we celebrate a program that will be training more CDL drivers that we desperately need in Texas and America,” he said. “Our friends at Arrow have helped with supply chain problems by donating to this program. This gift reminds us of the season we are about to enter into, and it should be celebrated.”

State Rep. Jay Dean, R-Longview, said he hopes the program will accomplish another need for truck drivers.

“I hope this program will build a culture among the CDL drivers,” he said. “I hope that culture is one of being dedicated to the profession. I hope it teaches them to understand that when you become a member of a team, you stay with that team.”

According to onetonline.org, the need for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers in Texas is forecast to increase 22 percent between 2020 and 2030. According to the website, drivers in the state earn an average annual salary of $46,960.

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