UBTech, oil & gas companies collaborate to ease CDL driver shortage

When Uintah Basin Technical College rolled out its new Advanced Energy Transportation program to help train truck drivers and support the trucking industry, it garnered attention across the state. As a result, local oil and gas companies are partnering with UBTech to provide scholarships and additional funding to support the demand for CDL drivers.

XCL has announced its partnership with UBTech by sponsoring over $17,500 in scholarships annually to the college’s CDL program.

UBTech recognized the shortage of CDL drivers and initiated collaborative efforts with trucking companies to explore ways to support economic development and growth, said UBTech President Aaron Weight.

With input from the trucking industry, UBTech developed a program that gives CDL drivers experience handling liquid loads.

“Partnerships with UBTech are a win-win. It’s easier for our community members to enter UBTech doors and gain the skills needed for the workplace if they can receive a scholarship,” Weight said.

“When companies, individuals, and other entities support UBTech students with the means to gain an education, it supports the Uintah Basin with a trained workforce which benefits local employers,” said Weight. “UBTech is the economic arm of education.”

“Great things are happening in the Uintah Basin,” said Rikki Hrenko-Browning, president of the Utah Petroleum Association. “We heard about the collaborative efforts UBTech has been having to assist in the driver shortage.”

While attending a UPA meeting, Cameron Cuch, business development director for Finley Resources, and Jim Finley, owner of Finely Resources & Uintah Wax, discussed the partnership efforts which are aiding the trucking industry.

Finley Resources and Uinta Wax previously partnered with UBTech with a donation to support the College’s new Advanced Energy Transportation program.

When Hrenko-Browning learned about UBTech’s needs and how they can help the energy industry, she posed it to the members of the UPA as an opportunity for the industry.

The Utah Petroleum Association is a non-profit organization comprised of nearly 100 oil and gas companies. The organization’s mission is to create a united voice to support exploration and tackle hurdles the industry is facing. The organization promotes the responsible development of Utah’s vast natural resources and the manufacture of fuels that keep Utah families and businesses moving.

When UPA member company XCL heard about UBTech’s latest outreach to help their industry they jumped on board.

XCL’s partnership with UBTech includes scholarships for students. Five $3,500 scholarships will be awarded annually to local students who enroll in UBTech’s CDL program.

“We recognized a need around trucking and the CDL drivers in the Uintah Basin and XCL wanted to be part of the solution,” said XCL Resources Operations Manager Scott Duncan. “Rather than outsource from outside the Basin, XCL wanted to make it possible for local individuals to have opportunities.”

To further support students, UPA is forming a partnership with UBTech. Scholarships provided by UPA will now cover the cost of Hazmat endorsements for students who enroll in the Advanced Energy Transportation Program.

“We look forward to continuing working with UBTech,” added Hrenko-Browning. “It doesn’t stop here.”

“We are grateful and pleased when companies can see the benefit of UBTech and how our missions align,” said Weight. “This is exactly what the purpose is of technical education.”

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