TSTC Hosts School Counselor Update

(HUTTO, Texas) – More than 20 counselors from school districts in Williamson County attended on Friday the Counselor Update hosted by Texas State Technical College’s East Williamson County campus.

The gathering was at the East Williamson County Higher Education Center in Hutto and included tours of TSTC’s Culinary Arts, Cybersecurity and Precision Machining Technology programs. Attendees also learned about TSTC’s admission requirements, funding formula and recruitment efforts.

Kari Schroeder, a counselor at Taylor High School, said she was glad to learn more about TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee that enables program-enrolled graduates to receive their tuition money back if they do not have a job within six months after graduation. The eligible programs are Diesel Equipment Technology, Electrical Lineworker Technology, Electrical Power and Controls, Instrumentation Technology and Welding Technology.

“I feel like for me that gave me a glimpse of the actual jobs they are being placed in before or at graduation,” Schroeder said.

Travis Clark, career and technical education coordinator for the Hutto Independent School District, said he was impressed with the Cybersecurity program’s labs.

Clark said some of the challenges in career and technical education include getting students and parents to understand there is financial aid available to pursue an array of college options. He said teachers and counselors need to help students figure out what can work best with the skills they have.

Attendees heard from an early afternoon panel made up of representatives from National Oilwell Varco in Cedar Park, the Texas Workforce Commission and Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area. Representatives talked about ways they provide support in developing Texas’ workforce.

The event was a way to thank counselors for encouraging students to attend TSTC, said Viña Asayas, a TSTC student recruitment coordinator.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.

TSTC Student Strives to Set Example for Siblings

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Not many people know exactly what they want to do before they graduate from high school, but Texas State Technical College student Ethan Saucedo had a game plan since his junior year. 

 

“TSTC came to our school, and I knew they had a good program. So I visited TSTC and met with Ms. Renee, the instructor, and I just knew this was where I wanted to be,” Saucedo said. 

 

Saucedo is now a first-semester student in the Computer Networking and Systems Administration program at the Brownwood campus. He is also the first in his family to go to college. 

 

“I have a lot of younger cousins and two younger siblings, and I want to set a good example and encourage them to pursue college,” he said.

 

While earning his associate degree, Saucedo is commuting over 70 miles a day from his hometown in Eden to attend classes.

 

“I want to better myself and do good for my family, so you just have to do what it takes to get the work done,” Saucedo said. 

 

Saucedo’s work ethic has not gone unnoticed. His instructor, Renee Blackshear, says she is very impressed with what he has already accomplished and is looking forward to what he will do. 

 

“Ethan is a great kid. He works hard and has such a positive attitude. He is planning on competing for us in SkillsUSA, and I think he will do very well and grow even more,” Blackshear said. 

 

Although he has only been with TSTC for one semester, Saucedo is already excited for what the future holds.

 

“I’m really glad I’m here. I’m excited to compete in SkillsUSA, and graduate and eventually find the right job,” Saucedo said. “I would encourage anyone to look at TSTC because I really enjoy my program.”

 

Registration for the Spring 2020 semester is underway. For more information about TSTC, go online at tstc.edu.

Ethan Saucedo is a Texas State Technical College student in the Computer Networking and Systems Administration program at the Brownwood campus. He is the first in his family to attend college. 

 

Student Veteran Earns Two Degrees at TSTC

(ABILENE, Texas) – Why stop at one college degree when having two is twice as nice? 

 

Texas State Technical College student and Army veteran Devan Moore is earning his second degree at TSTC and is expected to graduate this December. He graduated from the Sweetwater campus in 2018 with an associate degree in Wind Energy Technology and is now pursuing an associate degree in Industrial Systems at the Abilene campus. 

 

“I wanted to make sure I found the career that was perfect for me, so I decided to earn the second degree to make sure I could find the company and type of work that I would love,” Moore said. 

 

Moore enrolled at TSTC right after leaving the Army in 2016. Upon completing his first degree, he immediately reenrolled for the second degree. 

 

“I’m excited to be done with school, but I’m very proud of what I have accomplished,” Moore said. “I’m interviewing for the right job, and as I tell employers everything I am learning and have learned, it seems to impress them because the programs are so comprehensive.”

 

One of Moore’s favorite things about his time at TSTC is the relationship he has built with fellow veterans, classmates and TSTC Veteran Services representative Annette Collins.

 

“Annette is a rock star. She makes sure we have everything we need for our benefits and allows us to focus on learning and getting that degree. And that allows me to build up these friendships with other veterans and then be available to offer advice to the younger guys in class,” Moore said. 

 

For Collins, seeing the veterans succeed is what makes her day.

 

“Those students are my babies. I think of them as my children, so it makes me so proud to see them working hard and doing so well,” Collins said. 

 

Collins is a 20-year Air Force veteran. 

 

She and Moore both agree that TSTC is a great place for veterans to continue their education. 

 

“There is a lot going on when you leave the military, and it’s hard to feel normal again. But this environment, where you get to work with your hands and be around other people who understand what you’re going through, is awesome,” Moore said.  

 

  For more information about TSTC, log on to tstc.edu.

Texas State Technical College student veteran Devan Moore is pursuing his second degree at TSTC. He is expected to graduate with an Associate of Applied Science degree in the Industrial Systems program. 

 

TSTC Combines Art and Technology for Project With Abilene Cultural Affairs Council

(ABILENE, Texas) –  Texas State Technical College has partnered with the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council to help create the newest addition to the Adamson-Spalding Storybook Garden in Abilene. 

 

Three metal panels of sculptural vines standing about 7 feet tall and titled “Cardinal Vines” will be added to the garden in 2020. On the vines will be representations of 21 cardinals, and the leaves can be engraved to honor someone special. 

 

 

TSTC Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology instructor Magaly Valdez designed the vine panels, and student Justin Morrow designed the cardinals and leaves.

 

“This was an awesome opportunity to show what the Architectural Design program can do and a great way for us to give back to the community,” Valdez said. 

 

Morrow is an Abilene native and said he felt honored to be part of the process.

 

“I think it’s really cool to take what I’ve learned in class and apply it to a project for my community,” Morrow said. 

 

The idea for the project was presented to TSTC by Lynn Barnett, Abilene Cultural Affairs Council executive director, and Pam Tippen, co-chairperson of the Storybook Garden. 

 

“The ‘Cardinal Vines’ is an opportunity to allow the community to honor a loved one and be part of bettering the Abilene area,” Barnett said “This was Pam Tippen’s brainchild, and I am very excited for what TSTC has done for us and for what this will mean for the community.”

 

The “Cardinal Vines” project is part of a fundraiser for the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council to install more lighting in the Storybook Garden and be able to provide more opportunities for the community to gather. 

 

“This project and so many others are not possible without the help of so many talented people. The community is so amazing in providing their skill set, and we are so thankful for TSTC’s willingness to be part of this,” Tippen said.   

 

“Cardinal Vines” is expected to be unveiled during the Children’s Art & Literacy Festival next spring. 

 

For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

Texas State Technical College instructor Magaly Valdez and associate provost Justin Price (standing), along with Pam Tippen and Lynn Barnett (seated), visit the site where the three panels will be installed in 2020.

 

TSTC to Offer Paramedic Program in Spring

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Texas State Technical College will offer a certificate and an associate of applied science degree in Emergency Medical Services Paramedic at the Brownwood campus beginning next semester. 

 

“We are very excited to offer the paramedic program at the Brownwood campus and believe this will be a great opportunity for local community members,” Andy Weaver,  TSTC director of EMS and division director of Allied Health Services, said. 

 

While the paramedic program was offered at the Brownwood campus over 10 years ago, TSTC phased it out due to lack of interest. With rising job demand and need for those with paramedic licenses, the program has been brought back. 

 

“There is a huge need in this community for paramedics, and now we can fill that need and allow our students to further their career path in their hometown area without having to commute or transfer,” Stephen Sharp, instructor for EMS at the Brownwood campus, said. 

 

TSTC is accredited through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Educational Programs and recently received approval to teach the paramedic program at the Brownwood campus. 

 

“We are so excited and ready for this program to get started. We have the right staff and the right equipment to serve these students at the highest standard,” Weaver said. 

 

The paramedic program is now offered at the Abilene, Brownwood and Harlingen campuses.

 

Sharp encourages anyone interested in attending the paramedic program at the Brownwood campus to attend an information session hosted every Tuesday at 2 p.m.

 

“My door is always open to provide information about this career field because it such a rewarding field. If you feel called to this line of work and are ready to work hard and help people, we want you,” Sharp said. 

 

Registration for the Spring 2020 semester is underway. For more information about TSTC, go online at tstc.edu.

Texas State Technical College will offer a paramedic program in spring of 2020 at the Brownwood campus. 

 

TSTC welcomes new workforce training project manager

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Joyee Stevenson has returned to her roots in Houston and, in the midst of a career change, she found her calling at Texas State Technical College.

With only a couple of months under her belt at TSTC, the Workforce Training and Continuing Education project manager is already finding that this change was the best decision she could have made.

“I’ve always been an advocate for education,” said Stevenson. “So when I was laid off and I needed to start anew, I decided to combine my past experiences to help others find their dream careers.”

For more than a decade, Stevenson worked as a graphic designer, moving around often to follow job opportunities after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and a minor in marketing from the University of South Carolina.

She worked contract and freelance jobs rebranding pharmaceutical companies, and she even had the opportunity to design and advertise for a ramen noodle manufacturer.Joyee Stevenson

“I was infatuated with all aspects of my job,” she said. “The creativity and seeing my ideas and designs come to life kept me going.”

After hitting some bumps in the road as a designer, she returned to South Carolina and worked for a technical college doing graphic design and student recruitment.

“As a single mom, I did what I had to in order to support my daughter,” said Stevenson. “But I never knew that I would enjoy working in higher education so much, that it would spark a career change.”

With her brother in Texas and retired parents who were also ready to move, Stevenson decided to relocate to be closer to family and find better opportunities.

“My mom always told me I would thrive in higher education, but I was stubborn,” she said. “It turns out she was right.”

Stevenson said that soon after she arrived in Houston she noticed the new TSTC campus under construction in Rosenberg and immediately imagined herself working there.

“I’m so glad to be part of the TSTC family,” she said. “I immediately connected with college faculty and staff. It feels like home.”

Stevenson works closely with TSTC industry partners to provide training and opportunities for advancement for their employees.

“We connect with local companies because we feel training is important for everyone and everywhere,” said Stevenson. “What we do affects companies, individuals and families for generations to come.”

Stevenson said she sees a lot of herself in some of the students. Life as a single mom has not been easy. But with a great support system, she has gone far — and she hopes she can offer support to others as well.

“I share my experiences with students; there are no secrets to success,” she said. “I want to share my experiences and knowledge with others so that they can find success too.”

She added that she sees herself growing with TSTC, climbing the ladder but never forgetting what she is advocating for: education.

For more information on the services offered by TSTC Workforce Training and Continuing Education, visit https://tstc.edu/workforce/contact.

Waco Transit System Offers Free Rides to TSTC Students

(WACO, Texas) – Current students at Texas State Technical College can now ride on the Waco Transit System’s fixed routes for free.

TSTC students can get a personalized TSTC/Waco Transit identification card at the campus Student Services Center to begin riding.

“TSTC has partnered with Waco Transit for years to provide service to our campus, but this arrangement expands the service for our students to ride any fixed route on Waco Transit at no cost,” said Adam Hutchison, TSTC’s provost for the Waco campus. “Some of our students don’t have access to reliable transportation on their own, and now they can use Waco Transit anywhere in the city — not just TSTC — for free.”

TSTC is included on Waco Transit’s Route 5, which includes stops at H-E-B, Walmart and the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. Students can ride on any of the transportation system’s 10 routes encompassing all parts of Waco and some locations spread out in McLennan County.

“We do our best to hit all the time points,” said Joseph Dvorsky, Waco Transit’s director of service development. “We have major construction going on with Interstate 35, and what we do is we detour routes to keep them on time.”

Waco Transit uses a flag-stop system for its routes, which means people can flag down buses to be picked up along fixed routes. Dvorsky said bus drivers can pick up riders if they are on the correct side of the street and if there are not traffic-flow issues.

Waco Transit had 1.3 million unlinked passenger trips in 2018, according to Dvorsky. 

To see Waco Transit’s bus routes, go to waco-texas.com/transit/routes.asp or download the Ride Systems app on a smartphone.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu. 

TSTC Culinary Arts: Cooking up success

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Cooking and baking are only a couple of the skills students learn in Culinary Arts at Texas State Technical College.

Emma Creps, TSTC Culinary Arts lead instructor, said with an industry that is growing, graduates from the program can find opportunities to begin their careers.TSTC Culinary Arts

“Many of our graduates are placed in leadership positions within the food industry immediately after graduating,” said Creps. “And a lot of that has to do with the type of training they receive in our program. From technical to soft skills, we focus on making sure they are job-ready.”

Creps went on to explain what a TSTC Culinary Arts student can expect while in the program.

What is the length of the program?

Culinary Arts offers two pathways. A student can earn either a certificate in three semesters or one year, or an associate degree in five semesters or two years.

What can students expect when they graduate?

Before even graduating from Culinary Arts, program faculty and staff host a Culinary Arts job fair to expose students to different employment opportunities, resume building, and interview skills workshops to set them up toward a path of good-paying careers. A mentorship program that students and alumni can take advantage of if they have any questions or need advice is also offered.   

What skills do students learn in Culinary Arts?

Students learn a multitude of skills that include cooking and baking processes and techniques, knife skills and food preparation, but program faculty also focus on teaching soft skills such as time management, organization, leadership and communication, which are all essential when working in the food industry.

What types of technologies are used to learn these skills?

To learn these skills, students use an industrial-standard kitchen fully equipped with the tools they need to practice their skills. They also have access to a point-of-sale system, similar to what they will find in the real world, and a video tutorial they can reference.

Students also have the opportunity of participating in cooking and baking competitions hosted by the program, and they also attend community events where they can meet with clients, create a menu and follow through with executing the event.

How do these skills prepare a student for the workforce?

By learning these skills, they not only master the technical kitchen skills, but they also learn how to lead and interact with people, which affects a graduate’s success. They can be masters in the kitchen, but it’s the team you work with and your customers that help make a graduate successful. So everything they learn helps them become well-rounded and effective leaders.

What types of positions can a graduate from this program obtain?

Culinary Arts graduates can work as sous chefs, restaurant/kitchen managers, instructors, personal chefs and institutional chefs in places such as hospitals, nursing homes and detention centers. They can even open their own restaurants or catering businesses.

Local restaurants or organizations that have hired TSTC Culinary Arts graduates include the Harlingen Country Club, Valley Baptist Medical Center, Colletti’s Italian Restaurant, Stefano’s Brooklyn Pizza, Healthcare Services Group, and Healthcare Support Services.

TSTC Police Department welcomes new officer

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – The Texas State Technical College Police Department added a new police officer to its force and officially swore her in this week in a ceremony attended by her family and friends, as well as TSTC faculty and staff.

Lleana Granados is the newest officer to join the TSTC family. She graduated from the police academy in 2018, and her first job application went to TSTC.

“I’ve always known that TSTC has a very community-, family-oriented environment, and that’s what I wanted to be a part of and do,” said the 24-year-old.

With a brother who used to work at TSTC as a police officer, she was somewhat familiar with the college.TSTC Police Officer Lleana Granados

TSTC Police Chief Eduardo Patino said he first met the Los Fresnos native during the interview process and, after speaking with her, knew that she was the right person for the job.

“Working for a community-oriented police department requires a special person that can be both a guardian and warrior to the community members we serve,” said Patino. “She has the competencies needed to be a police officer for our college.”

Sworn in by Judge Eloy Cano Jr., Granados took an oath to serve and protect the TSTC community and she said she is more than ready to do just that.

“My goal is that anyone who steps foot on our campus feels safe,” said Granados. “And I’m ready to serve TSTC under its core values of excellence, accountability, service and integrity.”

Patino said Granados, who is the second female officer on the force, has already proven that she has what it takes to be successful.

“She’s eager and willing to learn. So I’ve challenged her supervisors, as part of our succession planning, to coach her and mentor her,” he said. “I’m happy to have Officer Granados as a member of the department and can’t wait to see what the future holds for her.”

Granados said she has always loved serving and helping others in any way she can.

“Serving is my passion, and I’ve always known that I could do that as a police officer,” she said. “I have watched my brother serve as a police officer for TSTC and now as a state trooper, and he is my inspiration. He has been my mentor and role model through this entire process.”

She added that she feels extremely proud to have been chosen to become TSTC’s newest officer and is grateful that she was able to share this prestigious moment with her family.

“My family has been my greatest support system,” she said. “And my hopes are that I make them proud by serving TSTC well and growing the department.”

The TSTC Police Department is made up of 10 full-time peace officers.

TSTC drafting and design course to offer evening classes

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – For the first time, Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology will expand its offerings with evening classes beginning Spring 2020.

TSTC Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics statewide department chair Samuel Pizano said the change comes at a time when students are seeking flexibility, and evening and online courses are growing in popularity.

In fact, the program has already seen its first registrants for evening classes.

“We’ve recently seen a lot more interest in our program from students who are unable to attend classes during the day because of other obligations,” said Pizano. “So this program expansion has been in the works for nearly a year, allowing us to cater even more to nontraditional students.”TSTC Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics

The program’s associate degree plan can be completed 100% in the evening, with classrooms and labs open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.

“Our goal is to help students create degree plans that fit their lives so that they can become college graduates and start their careers,” said Pizano. “And this is the first step toward that.”

Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics also offers the program fully online, and Pizano said evening courses will also benefit those students.

“Having our labs opened later will also allow online students to stop by and practice their skills in the lab, ask questions or have a one-on-one with an instructor,” said Pizano. “Overall, we’re giving our students options they want.”

Pizano added that offering evening and online courses is also a stepping stone toward the program’s performance-based education model that will begin Fall 2021.

Performance-based education will allow students not only to have flexibility with their schedules, but also set themselves up to graduates quicker.

Under performance-based education, the program will offer a new block of courses every midterm for those who accelerate their studies.

“Essentially we are giving students control of their schedules and timeline,” said Pizano. “And no matter which path they choose, they will learn from industry-trained instructors and gain the skills they need and can implement in the real world.”

Pizano said with the regional and statewide job market growing exponentially, the program’s graduates are in high demand by employers.

“Our No. 1 goal is to produce highly trained students who can transfer the skills they’ve learned to industry to have a successful career,” he said. “We are producing graduates that industry wants to hire, while giving students the education they deserve and desire.”

Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics is also offered as an online class at TSTC’s West Texas locations and, beginning Fall 2020, will be onsite at TSTC’s Red Oak and Marshall campuses.

For more information on Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology and the pathways available, call 956-364-4973 or visit https://tstc.edu/programs/DraftingDesign.