Truck Donation Helps Put Tribal University Students on the Road to Jobs
- Navajo Technical University in New Mexico has increased its capacity to help students meet the increasing demand for drivers in the U.S. trucking industry.
- The school’s commercial driver’s license program received its first tanker truck for use in training courses through a donation from Marathon Petroleum’s midstream segment, MPLX.
- The truck will allow for more effectively training students to drive in the energy industry, helping address a national shortage of 78,000 truck drivers.
In recent testimony before a U.S. House committee, the President and CEO of American Trucking Associations highlighted a growing shortage of 78,000 drivers in the trucking industry, calling for more efforts to develop the industry’s workforce. The commercial driver’s license (CDL) program at Navajo Technical University (NTU) is now better equipped to help fill this void after adding the program’s first tanker truck, which was donated by Marathon Petroleum’s midstream segment, MPLX, from its existing fleet.
“This cab unit and liquid tank trailer will help the program build capacity and more effectively train students to drive in the energy industry,” said Marathon ESG and Stakeholder Engagement Manager V.J. Smith. “The truck can immediately be put to use, so I’m grateful to Gathering and Processing’s Transportation and Rail team within MPLX for making this happen.”
“I’m proud to be part of a company that is committed to making our shared communities stronger by aiding programs that promote the education and advancement of the local workforce.”
Located in Crownpoint, New Mexico, NTU was the first university established on the Navajo Nation and is the largest tribal university in the U.S. The CDL program is a one-semester certificate program that prepares graduates for employment as professional over-the-road drivers and drivers for local companies or to establish their own trucking companies.
MPLX Transport Driver Jonathan Begay, a member of the Navajo Nation whose routes include the area where NTU is located, spoke during the truck donation ceremony.
“I’m proud to be part of a company that is committed to making our shared communities stronger by aiding programs that promote the education and advancement of the local workforce,” Begay said.
The truck donation adds to Marathon’s ongoing support of educational initiatives in the region. A company grant in 2022 provided funding to purchase tools and equipment for NTU’s skilled trades programs, including construction technology, electrical trades and welding.