Pictured: (l-r) are Continuing Education Coordinator Glynnis Strause, Jose Carrillo, Hector A. Torres and CBC-Alice Director Dr. Rito Silva. Photo by MAURICIO JULIAN CUELLAR JR.

Coastal Bend College again offering truck driving course

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

Two men have spent the last month negotiating the busy parking lot of Coastal Bend College, watching out for passing college students and kids from Alice High School, all while at the helm of an 18-wheeler.

Both of these men were looking for a change in their lives and on Friday, they were honored for their efforts as the first graduates of the revived CBC Commercial Driver's License Program.

Jose Carrillo and Hector A. Torres are just the first of many program participants the college expects in the coming year.

Dr. Rito Silva, director of CBC-Alice campus, said the program will be able to handle up to five students at a time. With the coursework lasting four weeks, Silva expects to have 35 to 40 graduates by the end of 2008.

Silva thanked the efforts of Dean Kruckenburg with the Alice/JWC EDC and Virginia Garcia with Workforce, who were essential in generating interest in the program at the Alice campus.

Glynis Holm Strause, Continuing Education coordinator at CBC Alice, said it takes partnerships with these organizations to make the CDL program happen.

As for Carrillo and Torres' efforts this month, Strause said, "we see this as a positive thing for CBC and for your future."

Carrillo's mind was focused on the future when he first signed up for the program. At the time he was in need of a job, heard about the need for more drivers and turned for help through the Worksource's Workforce Investment Act (WIA), which led him to the CBC program.

Mainly, though, he said he took the class for his family.

"It feels great. At first I didn't know if I could do it. But Jewels (Minor) was a cool and patient teacher," Carrillo said.

Minor and Imelda Cavazos are the instructors for the course, which was subcontracted to International Trucking out of Dallas.

"Things are going to be better now. A better way of living, a better home, and insurance for my kids. I'm also going to be able to save for my kids, for their future," Carrillo said.

Key Energy Services recruiter, Audrey Paiz, was also at the event, to talk to Carrillo about his new job with the company starting this week.

"Their future is really going to change starting tomorrow. We're all really proud to be a part of that," Paiz said.

Torres was also eager to begin his new career with B.J. Services. His father has worked for the company for six years, and it has always been a dream of Torres' to get in the driver's seat of a big rig. Now he has his chance.

"I was going to school at CBC, but it wasn't really for me, until I heard about the CDL program. I love driving. I always wanted to get my CDL," Torres said. "I'm excited and happy, and my dad's pretty proud. The class was hard, but it helped that we had a great teacher."