Skyelaire Cole details how Lamar State College Orange program allowed her to better care for family

Published 12:22 am Saturday, February 18, 2023

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Skyelaire Cole recalls the reaction from her family when she told them she was enrolling in Lamar State College Orange’s truck driving program.

“My family was very supportive and proud,” Cole said. “They were shocked that I learned how to drive big trucks, but they were super proud of me.”

Cole, 31, worked for years in low-paying fast food and convenience store positions before losing her job six months ago.

“I was struggling like I always have trying to keep up with bills, feeling like a struggle would never end,” Cole said. “I just thought that I would have to work low-paying jobs for the rest of my life.

“It was depressing. I didn’t think there was a way out.”

Cole decided she needed a change, but there was one thing standing in her way, she needed to complete her GED.

“I told myself for years that I was going to go get my GED,” Cole said. “I would sit down to study. After a few pages, especially when it came to the math, I would get overwhelmed and it almost always ended in tears.”

Cole worried how she would be able to go to school while also providing for her three children.

“My husband told me that he would take care of the bills so I could go back to school,” she said. “I jumped on it.”

Cole buckled down and within five weeks, completed her GED.

“When I finally passed, it was huge for me,” Cole said. “I developed a new confident self.”

With a new sense of confidence, she signed up for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) through Workforce Solutions Southeast Texas. It provides training and employment for adults who qualify.

She wanted to do something that was enjoyable.

“I saw CDL trucking school on the list, and I went for it because I love to drive and I knew I would make great money,” she said.

Cole had never sat in the cab of a truck until she started the class but soon overcame her fears thanks to her Lamar State College Orange instructors.

She failed her first road test, which was discouraging.

So she went back to class for another week or so and the teachers made sure she was ready.

They didn’t push her at an unreasonable pace, which was appreciated.

Cole had to learn how to push through the fear and believe in herself that she could do it.

That sense of self-determination had instructors, like Carl Cormier, rallying around her.

“[We] encouraged and did all that we could to help her achieve and excel the way she did, a true success story,” Cormier said. “We are proud of the accomplishments that she has achieved so far, and all look forward to seeing more of her accomplishments in the future.”

After completing the class and receiving her Class A CDL license, she went to work for USA Debusk.

“The first truck I had to drive was a 30-thousand-ton 54-feett flatbed,” Cole says.

Cole has been working for USA Debusk since January, hauling equipment for local refineries.

“Life now is great. I feel secure, confident and I’m making great money working for USA Debusk doing something I love,” Cole said. “I am going to be financially comfortable. And, most importantly, I taught my children that they can do hard things. They cheered me on through my whole journey.”

Lamar State College Orange offers Class A and B courses. During the six-week “Get Your Future in Gear” course, students receive behind-the-wheel training and learn safety, rules and regulations of the industry.

For more information on LSCO’s Truck Driving Program, call 409-883-7750 or visit

— Written by Chrissie Mouton