Permian Strategic Partnership and Odessa College expand Truck Driving Academy

Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 10:11 PM CST
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - The Permian Strategic Partnership and Odessa College are expanding the Odessa College Truck Driving Academy.

The PSP dedicated $3.5 million in funding to meet the demand for drivers in the Permian Basin. PSP President and CEO Tracee Bentley says there are two main reasons behind helping expand this program.

“It really leads to two aspects for the Permian Strategic Partnership, number one it helps increase our workforce and number two it helps keep our roads safer,” said Bentley.

The funds will support 94 more students annually providing scholarships, adding trucks, trailers and instructors to the campuses in Odessa, Pecos, and Andrews. Director of the program William Church says helping the students is something he’s passionate about.

“This passion is never gonna go away that I have for the students it’s to be able to put safe drivers and educated drivers out there cuz there’s a big difference in driving a smaller car than driving a bigger truck and these students that go through our program get to experience that and have much appreciation for commercial motor vehicles when they finish our program,” said Church.

This comes as the Permian Basin is facing a drivers shortage of commercial drivers license certified drivers.

The Department of Public Safety estimates 66% of the commercial vehicles in the Permian Basin are out of compliance and in 2022 4,000 new CDL job postings were created in the Permian Basin alone.

“Given that a lot of our industry and moving our goods to market is dependent on safety qualified drivers, this initiative is incredibly important,” said Bentley.

The OC Truck Driving Academy offers full and part time training with up to 200 hours of classroom and behind the wheel instruction. They currently have a 99.9% graduation rate averaging over 140 students each year in the past two years.

Church says a lot of the students enter the program to better themselves and their lifestyles… and the program allows them to do that.