Cuero man back in driverís seat after gaining CDL
Emmitt Glover
Emmitt Glover was laid off from his job of 20 years in June, but has embarked on a new career after acquiring his Commercial Driver License in VCís Commercial Truck Driving Course.

The gleam is back in Emmitt Glover’s eyes.

Glover was one of 280 employees laid off when Cuero’s Mount Vernon Mills textile plant closed its doors for good in June. Suddenly, the 56-year-old Glover, who worked as an overhaul technician at the plant for 20 years, found himself desperate for employment.

“I knew I had to do something, but I didn’t know what,” Glover said. “There were no other textile mills around here I could go to. I knew I had to get into a different field.”

Glover received information about Victoria College’s Commercial Truck Driving Course and, just five months later, is on the road toward a new and rewarding career.

Glover recently completed the seven-week training course to acquire his Commercial Driver License (CDL). He also became the first Victoria College student to pass the new Texas Department of Public Safety CDL skills test.

“At first, it was kind of scary,” said Glover, who had never operated an 18-wheeler until he began the course. “They started talking about parallel parking an 18-wheeler and I said, ‘What?’ After a while, the instructors made me feel comfortable. They told me we’d get through this. They had more faith in me than I had in myself. They just said, ‘We got you,’”

Glover recalls the looks on his coworkers’ faces when they were informed earlier this year that the BrenTex plant was to be shut down after over 100 years of operation.

“I was wondering what I was going to do,” Glover said. “I had never drank before, but I felt like I needed a drink. I told somebody to drink one for me.”

Glover had sought work as a truck driver shortly after it was announced in April that the BrenTex plant would be shutting down operations.

“Truck driving was the only field that I felt I was qualified to do,” Glover said. “I would go and apply for truck driving jobs, but they would tell me I needed a CDL. Some of them said they could hire me, but they required me to get my CDL within two months or I would lose my job.”

Representatives from Workforce Solutions Golden Crescent visited Mount Vernon Mills to discuss job options for the employees who were going to be laid off. That’s when Glover heard about VC’s Commercial Truck Driving Course.

Glover received help from the Texas Workforce Commission’s Trade Adjustment Assistance program. He also received tutoring in VC Adult Basic Education courses.

On Oct. 10, Glover arrived to VC’s Emerging Technology Complex for his first day of class.

“Here I was 56 years old and sitting in classes for 10 hours a day,” Glover said. “I never expected that. But the instructors and staff here are just incredible.”

The DPS CDL road test became effective in October and is considered to be more difficult than the previous test.

“You have to know your truck from bumper to bumper,” Glover said. “If you don’t, you don’t pass the test.”

“The new test has a very high first-time failure rate,” VC Workforce and Continuing Education Coordinator Mary Pullin said. “Emmitt being the first student to pass this exam was quite an accomplishment.”

Glover spoke on Nov. 29 at a Cuero Economic Development event to encourage some of his former coworkers at Mount Vernon Mills and others to look into VC’s Workforce and Continuing Education course offerings.

“One of my coworkers is taking a welding class at Victoria College,” Glover said. “A couple more say they are going to take the truck driving course. I tell them if I can do it, they can do it.”

Glover said he plans to begin his new profession soon.

“I applied for a job last week, and they said they require drivers to have their CDL in two months. I told them I already have mine. So that’s a plus,” Glover said. “I know a job is just a phone call away.”

“Workforce Solutions Golden Crescent is fortunate to have partnerships that work together and support individuals by bridging services for life-changing careers,” Workforce Solutions Golden Crescent Director Carmen Herrera-Lara said. “Mr. Glover exemplifies hard work and determination to begin a new career. We are proud of him.”

Glover said he feels like a different man from the one who was dejected and depressed just five months ago.

“My confidence is way up now,” Glover said. “It’s like a load has fallen off my shoulders. I feel young again. I feel like I have a chance again.”
Published: Wednesday, 07 December 2016
 

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