VC trucking student followed road to success
Terry Jamison
Terry Jamison trains in Victoria College’s state-of-the-art truck driving simulator at the Emerging Technology Complex.

Terry Jamison shakes his head when recalling where he was just seven months ago.

Jamison, 55, had all but given up on finding a good-paying, full-time job until he enrolled in Victoria College’s seven-week truck driving course at the Emerging Technology Complex.

“The week I decided to enroll in the class was the last week they had it open,” Jamison said. “I took the gamble of taking out a personal loan for the class with hopes I would get a job to pay off the loan. The gamble was well worth it.”

Jamison completed the course in February and was soon hired by Swift Transportation. He recently left Swift to take over a dedicated route with Caterpillar.

Back in December, Jamison was working part time at a local retail store, wondering if he would ever gain steady, full-time employment in Victoria after four years of trying.

Jamison was one of 4,000 automotive industry employees laid off from Michigan plants in 2007. After overcoming a serious illness that prevented him from finding work in the Detroit area, Jamison followed the advice of his sister and moved to Victoria in 2011.

“I spent over 25 years in the automotive industry,” Jamison said. “Then I was struck with an illness and I was fighting for my life. It was tough at my age having to start from scratch.”

All Jamison could find in Victoria were two part-time jobs. He found himself working 16 hours a day at both jobs just to make ends meet and became frustrated with the lack of opportunities in the area.

“I was pretty much desperate, down to my last straw,” Jamison said. “There were times I was so discouraged that I was just about to give up because there was nothing out there. But I wasn’t raised to be a quitter.”

Once again, Jamison followed the advice of his sister to look into a career in truck driving.

“When I first got here in Texas, everyone was looking for truck drivers with the oil boom,” Jamison said. “I love to drive and I love to travel. I had never driven a big truck before, but I did have a 23-foot camper that I towed.”

Victoria College is one of the few schools in the country that offers students the use a state-of-the-art driving simulator that trains students to operate a rig in various types of conditions.

“What I found is that Victoria College’s truck driving course is one of the best in the country,” Jamison said. “What they require you to accomplish in this course is even higher than what the federal government requires. Not only do you train in the simulator, you have to complete 40 hours on the road.”

Jamison said he learned VC’s course is renowned in the trucking industry.

“There are a lot of companies out there that recognize Victoria College and the classes here,” Jamison said. “They go for students from this college. Saying you took this course at VC catches the eyes of recruiters from companies all over the trucking business.”

Registration is underway for the next truck driving course, which begins Monday, Aug. 22. For more information, contact Mary Pullin at (361) 573-3291, ext. 3482, or stop by VC’s Emerging Technology Complex, 7403 Lone Tree Road.
Published: Wednesday, 27 July 2016
 

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