Trucking classes a lifeline; alternatives don't measure up - Albuquerque Journal

Trucking classes a lifeline; alternatives don’t measure up

I am a recent graduate of the Central New Mexico Community College truck-driving program. I am writing because I discovered the unfortunate news this program will no longer be available. This letter is my plea for CNM to reconsider cutting the program.

The CNM truck-driving program has been a lifeline for me. This time last year, I was lost and confused about my life’s direction. I had been depressed over the possible mistakes I made in the past, including graduating from a university in 2018 with a major I was not interested in. From the beginning of the pandemic through early 2021 I continually reflected. I realized that to build a life I could enjoy, I would need to consider finding a place where my desire for driving could be turned into a career.

I decided to pursue truck driving. The few ways to enter the truck driving industry are to become hired and trained by a company, or to be trained through an accredited school and receive employment afterward. After applying to trucking jobs and being rejected for various reasons, I decided to give schooling a chance. I enrolled in the CNM Truck Driving Program during the fall 2021 term. I credit this program as the link between my season of stagnation and an eventual job in the trucking industry. There are other schooling options, but no other option – Phoenix Truck Driving School in Albuquerque, Navajo Technical University, or even CNM Ingenuity – competes with this program’s financial and travel accessibility. Therefore, I firmly believe I could not realize my dreams of becoming a truck driver without the CNM truck-driving program.

This program is for students from all walks of life, ready to apply themselves and allow CNM to fulfill its mission to “Change Lives and Build Community.” Many people with felony convictions have changed their lives with this program, including an inspirational classmate I met last year who landed a job that pays up to $90,000 a year. Students who were unable to complete their education planned to revisit this program once they were ready. For some students, like me, passing the CDL state exam would take more than one attempt. The trucking program at CNM offers an additional course dedicated to sharpening skills and better preparing students like me to try again. Without this course, many of us would not have a second chance.

Additionally, I never imagined I could feel so accepted, understood and advocated for in a trucking environment. It was especially meaningful to enter a male-dominated space and see the director of the entire program is a woman. With Diana Lucero’s representation and the welcoming environment instructors forged for us, I can say that I and other female classmates felt very supported.

I understand some programs are cut from CNM because of their cost. I also wish CNM would consider more than cost effectiveness when deciding whether this program stays because this is unfair to the program, its students, instructors, and the Albuquerque community. Students are worth the investment.

Home » Opinion » Guest Columns » Trucking classes a lifeline; alternatives don’t measure up


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