Author Archives: Daniel Perry

TSTC in Waco Hosts Industry Job Fair for Students

(WACO) – More than 650 Texas State Technical College students met potential employers from throughout Texas on Thursday at its Industry Job Fair.

Two lift trucks provided by Versalift in Waco were parked at the corner of Campus Drive and Scott Circle in front of the Murray Watson Jr. Student Recreation Center, where more than 100 businesses set up tables and displays. This was the largest Industry Job Fair the campus has ever held.

Bruce Hardt, Versalift’s human resources director, said the company was looking for students to fill welding, production assistant, service technician, warehouse parts puller, panting and other positions that are available right now.

“We are a local company and TSTC is local, and we need to capture people to keep them here,” Hardt said. “We have had a lot of traffic today. It’s been good.”

Representatives of Austin-based Aerotek were seeking to meet students to fill technology, manufacturing, maintenance and engineering positions. Jaime Valdez, an Aerotek commercial account manager, said he was collecting resumes from students throughout the morning.

“We try to get to a lot of the job fairs to find fresh students,” said Valdez. “The tech schools are our niche.”

Jacob Matson, an instrumentation department supervisor at Samsung Austin Semiconductor, was looking to meet instrumentation students. The Austin company has more than 3,000 employees and is one of the largest semiconductor manufacturing facilities in the United States.

“Emerging technology requires emerging talent,” Matson said.

Tractor Supply Co., which has locations throughout Central Texas, has openings for material handlers and maintenance mechanics. Ashley R. Willis, a company human resources specialist in Waco, said there are plans to expand to at least 2,000 stores nationwide in the next five years.

“We have positions that need to be filled,” Willis said. “We are a rapidly growing company. We open a new store every four days around the country. We would like to build a great connection with TSTC.”

Sara Mardanbigi, a traveling recruiter for Torchy’s Tacos in Austin, did not bring samples of the restaurant’s popular gourmet tacos. But, she did bring details of supply chain, information technology and maintenance technician positions available. Torchy’s Tacos has 60 locations in Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas and has plans to move into other states.

Some TSTC alumni worked at tables representing B&W Energy Services in Deer Park and ProPetro Services Inc. in Midland.

Jason Lehrmann graduated in 2017 from TSTC with associate degrees in Environmental Technology Compliance and Occupational Safety Compliance Technology. He began an internship with Manitou Group in May and was hired full time as soon as he graduated in August. Lehrmann is a safety supervisor and human resources assistant at the company that produces telehandlers, backhoe loaders, aerial work platforms and other heavy equipment.

“It feels really good seeing the students I went to school with and coming to the table,” Lehrmann said.

Some students planning to graduate this semester were figuring out their future work plans.

Ann-Marie Garza, a Web Design and Development Technology major from McGregor, said she became interested in web design after being encouraged by a high school teacher to pursue the field to study.

“Right now, I’m just trying to get an idea of where I want to work, so any job will do,” she said. “But, this is really helpful in getting started.”

Jaren Gillis, 24, of Waco is studying Cyber Security and has attended previous campus employment events. He said he always starts out walking around the student recreation center and then zeroing in on specific businesses.

“I think it’s always good seeing what the market looks like and to talk to the employers and seeing what they look for,” Gillis said.

William Hammond, an aviation maintenance student from Groesbeck, said the companies represented know TSTC’s students come with ample hands-on experience that sets them above others.

“I’m looking for a job that pays well and offers good benefits and retirement,” he said. “I have to start thinking long term, and these companies here are ready to offer that.”

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Waco Transit System Utilizing TSTC Diesel Equipment Technology Students

(WACO) – When people wind down at home or lift reps at the gym after a long day at work, the Waco Transit System’s maintenance department livens up with its own activity.

And, some of the employees making this happen have ties to Texas State Technical College’s Diesel Equipment Technology program.

“We always keep six to 10 of the kids on board,” said Waco Transit System Director of Maintenance Steve Edgar. “We work late evenings and it is flexible with their classes. If it wasn’t for the tech students, I would be in a bind.”

Caleb Hensley, 19, of Waco and Malaci Moore, 19, of Elm Mott are two of the TSTC students who work in the maintenance shop in downtown Waco. Both students are scheduled to graduate in April from TSTC. The students work with preventive maintenance along with repairing air and fuel leaks and hydraulics.

“I like the controlled environment,” Hensley said. “This is my first shop. I have always worked on vehicles, but I liked heavier equipment.”

Moore came to Waco Transit with knowledge accumulated from his relatives working in the oil fields. He said laboring at the transit agency has been a good experience and one to help him as he secures a job working on mechanical equipment in the oil fields after graduation.

“There are some things you can’t teach in a classroom compared to a shop,” Moore said.

Edgar said Waco Transit has worked with the Diesel Equipment Technology program for more than two decades, hiring students and enabling them to get professional work experience. He said while the technical college provides the industry knowledge for students, it is businesses like Waco Transit that can provide the hands-on work to fine-tune skills.

“Steve and them are a blessing,” said Richard Stranacher, an instructor in TSTC’s Diesel Equipment Technology program. “The students get the exposure, and he critiques and hone their skills over there.”

Waco Transit is not just city buses and trolleys circling downtown. The agency provides bus service for Baylor University, shuttles for Baylor football games, shuttles to and from Waco Regional Airport, services for McLennan County Rural Transit, and vans for Americans with Disabilities Act and Medicaid patients.

New employees typically start as mechanics’ helpers, Edgar said. He said some of the traits he looks for in potential employees include common sense and flexibility. He said the first test for applicants is to see if they follow directions in filling out the employment application.

“If they show will and determination to learn, they move into the shop to do preventive maintenance,” he said. “With these kids, I always encourage school, No. 1; work is No. 2. We have to pace them.”

David Villatoro, 28, of Robinson began work at Waco Transit while he was a TSTC student and was hired fulltime after graduation in 2009. He is a technician who started working evenings and eventually moved up to a daytime shift. A lot of his work involves preventive maintenance, heating and cooling systems and wheelchair lifts.

“When I started, I was doing tires,” said Villatoro. “I got familiarized with the vehicles and preventive maintenance and then worked on the electrical side. I caught on really fast.”

Villatoro, a 2007 graduate of Stony Point High School in Round Rock, said he grew up with an interest in cars.

“But, everything in diesel is bigger,” he said.

Further training beyond daily work is done by vendors contracted to provide purchased vehicles, Edgar said.

Edgar said the transit agency could also use current students or graduates in other fields, including automotive technology, auto collision and welding, to fill work gaps.

The Waco Transit Authority is a wholly owned subsidiary of RATP Dev and contracts with the city of Waco. The agency has 140 employees in administration, maintenance and operations.

TSTC in Waco offers the Associate of Applied Science degree in Diesel Equipment Technology with specializations in Off-Highway Equipment, John Deere Construction and Forestry, or Heavy Truck. TSTC in Waco also offers certificates in Diesel Equipment Technology – Heavy Truck and Off-Highway Equipment.

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TSTC in Abilene Seeking Faculty for New Technical Programs

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College is looking for team members.

With a reputation for hiring faculty who have real-world industry experience, TSTC in searching for teaching candidates to teach in Abilene.

TSTC’s Industrial Technology Center is currently under construction on Loop 322 next to Abilene Regional Airport and will house three new TSTC programs: Electrical Power and Controls, Industrial Maintenance and Welding Technology.

Quality faculty are key to helping students become well-trained employees.

“The knowledge the faculty brings to the classroom and labs is hard to quantify,” said Rick Denbow, provost of TSTC in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater. “You are conveying that information to the student that has maybe limited knowledge. They are preparing those students upon graduation to get into industry and get those great paying jobs.”

TSTC will hire for four full-time instructors and two adjunct instructors in Electrical Power and Controls and Industrial Maintenance. There will also be two full-time instructors hired for the welding program. A program maintenance specialist will be hired who will help instructors prepare classrooms and equipment for labs, grade papers and other tasks needed by instructors, said Rhiannon M. Hastings, lead statewide recruiter in TSTC Human Resources.

People interested in the jobs need to have at least an associate degree in one of the fields and at least three years of professional field experience. Applicants should also have professional certifications as needed for their fields, Hastings said.

Dan Bateman, a senior instructor in the Electrical Power and Controls program at TSTC in Waco, is leading the creation of the new associate degree program in Abilene.

“What we need is someone with utility or testing and maintenance experience along with utility design,” he said.

The number of electrical engineers is expected to grow by more than 16,000 through 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. West Texas had more than 400 jobs in May 2016, according to the federal agency.

David A. Junek, TSTC’s statewide department chairman for Industrial Systems and Engineering Technology, said he wants to see Industrial Maintenance faculty members who have the academic experience and have gotten their hands dirty in the workplace. Faculty will teach students earning the program’s associate degree which has an electrical specialization.

“Industrial Maintenance graduates are maintenance technicians that can not only make repairs to mechanical equipment, but are also trained to troubleshoot electrical, hydraulic and pneumatic systems as well.”

Jobs for industrial machinery mechanics are expected to increase by more than 23,000 jobs nationwide through 2026, according to the federal labor statistics agency. In May 2016, there were more than 4,000 industrial machinery mechanics jobs in West Texas, with the most being centered in Odessa and Midland, according to the federal agency.

Faculty in Abilene will teach classes in the first Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology being offered at the TSTC campuses in West Texas.

The number of welders, cutters, solderers and brazers in the United States is expected to grow by 22,500 jobs nationwide through 2026. West Texas had more than 4,700 jobs in these fields as of May 2016, according to the federal agency.

The Electrical Power and Controls and Welding Technology programs are part of TSTC’s Money Back Guarantee initiative. Students in these programs who do not get a job in their field within six months of graduation will get their tuition back.

Hastings said Human Resources’ goal is to have the new faculty hired by early summer so they can set up classrooms and labs with new equipment in the building. Students in the programs will be able to take classes from faculty members and adjuncts in the daytime and evenings.

TSTC is a state institution offering Health Select of Texas administered by Blue Cross Blue Shield, paid vacation, sick leave and state holidays, dental insurance, vision insurance,  life insurance, flexible spending accounts and retirement. In addition, the technical college offers employee development and employee appreciation events as part of its overarching goal to make TSTC a great place to work.

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TSTC in Waco Hosts Open House

(WACO) – More than 950 visitors from throughout the state attended Open House at Texas State Technical College on Thursday.

Visitors were treated to a taco lunch, tours of several technical programs and one-on-one time with instructors at tables set up in the Murray Watson Jr. Student Recreation Center.

“I think things are going great,” said Darryan Meyers, a TSTC student recruitment representative. “I think everyone is getting what TSTC has to offer. There is good engagement with the staff and visitors.”

Michael Sedillo, 21, is a Connally High School graduate who has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Texas Tech University. He visited Open House because he will start work on a pharmacy technician certificate this fall at TSTC. His goal is to continue his education after graduation and become a pharmacist.

“My sister came to TSTC and when I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do, she told me about the program,” Sedillo said. “She graduated from the Pharmacy Technician program and she said, ‘You could end up being my boss.’ So, I definitely wanted to do it and I’m really excited to get going on pursuing my dream.”

Gabriela Herrera, 18, a senior at Waco High School and member of Prosper Waco’s Project Link initiative, said she is interested in majoring in Architectural and Civil Drafting Technology. She got her first taste of technical education when she attended last fall’s Women in Technology Day held at TSTC.

“Since I was little I had a dream to build my own home,” Herrera said.

Corby Myers, an instructor in the Drafting and Design Technology program, said about 45 students start the program and split to work either toward the associate degree in mechanical and electrical drafting technology or architectural and civil drafting technology at the start of their second semester at TSTC.

“Graduates are support staff for architects and engineers,” Myers said. “They can do mechanical engineering or drafting. Anything that has to be built has to be drawn first.”

TSTC Electrical Power and Controls major Anita Nesler, 45, of Copperas Cove volunteered at the program’s information table and wanted to encourage females to think about the field of study. Electrical Power and Controls graduates maintain and test electrical and nuclear power plants, do electrical design and troubleshoot relays and transformers.

“We are always energy hungry as a society,” Nesler said.

Students in TSTC’s Building Construction Technology program demonstrated the construction of a mini-building and some programs showed off the tools of their trade to show prospective students and their families. The Cloud and Data Center Management program demonstrated small self-driving cars on a taped track on the carpeted first floor of the John B. Connally Technology Center.

The Computer Science program had a table for students to put on virtual reality headgear and feel their presence in the technology center, all without leaving the student recreation center. Event visitors could also use their smartphones or tablets to play an augmented reality game created by TSTC students.

Staff representing financial aid, student outreach, SkillsUSA, the Challenger Learning Center and student recruiting were also on hand to meet prospective students.

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TSTC and Presidio ISD Unite to Offer Dual Credit Classes

(SWEETWATER) – Gilberto Madrid of Presidio is lighting the fire for his career each day in a welding booth at Texas State Technical College.

“I liked the thought of being able to control metal and fuse it together to make it something that can support weight,” said Madrid, 20. “That has interested me for a couple of years now.”

Madrid earned dual credit hours while a student at Presidio High School and is scheduled to graduate from TSTC in August with a certificate in Structural Welding and is considering his work options. It is a path Presidio Independent School District education leaders hope other students will follow as they are armed with dual credit hours from TSTC.

This year, there have been 20 Presidio High School students taking dual credit courses from TSTC online in Culinary Arts, Digital Media Design and Medical Office Specialist, and in person with TSTC credentialed high school teachers in Business Management Technology and Welding Technology.

For PISD Superintendent Dennis McEntire, one of the goals is to give Presidio students every opportunity they can to achieve.

“We are open to any dual credit with TSTC,” he said. “The welding is the one we have had the most numbers in. We can work with TSTC on anything they can make available for the kids to work on. This is the future; this is Presidio. We absolutely bought into this. We have managed to build this into our budget and create a financial model to make it successful.”

Some of Presidio High School’s welding students recently visited TSTC to meet Welding Technology program instructors and work with equipment.

“This just gives them a taste to get them motivated and hopefully continue on with us,” said Taylor Elston, a TSTC in Sweetwater welding instructor. “It seems to be paying off with some of them.”

Elston said Sweetwater’s welding program attracts students from throughout West Texas and the Panhandle. He said the goal is for graduates to have a job, or a welding test for a job, waiting for them upon graduation. Elston said he and fellow welding instructor Frank Molini are starting to build relationships with employers in Brady, Early and Roscoe.

“We are looking at the market and what is available and places they would not mind living,” Elston said. “We will see what the companies are testing and we will help them practice for their test to get the job.”

PISD’s early college high school concept containing a technical college component began about seven years ago, McEntire said. The school district also partners with The University of Texas of the Permian Basin in Odessa.

“We were able to put this into place about five years ago,” McEntire said. “It is 300 miles to UTPB  and nearly than 400 miles to TSTC – so everything has to be done online and done at a distance. It took us a couple of years to convince the Texas Education Agency that it is viable. It has become a much more common occurrence.”

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Lorena Resident Designs Her Creative Future at TSTC

(WACO) – Raychel Mynarcik knows what she wants and is not afraid to go for it.

The busy 21-year-old Lorena native is in her second semester in Texas State Technical College’s Visual Communication Technology program. She sees TSTC as an opportunity to earn a degree that will turn her passions for music and design into a living.

“I wanted to be self-sufficient in my (music) career and do my own album covers and my own media for that. So with the Visual Communication program, I am able to learn all of the tools and programs that would allow me to do all my own media and designs so I wouldn’t have to pay anyone — just be the whole package,” Mynarcik said.

TSTC’s reputation for great job placement, coupled with its two-year timeline for associate degrees, sold Mynarcik on the college.

“They know how to prepare students to go into the workforce,” she said.

Mynarcik praised her TSTC instructors as playing key roles in guiding her to success.

“They have provided such a great foundation, at least for me, to really be able to craft and have the tools in order to really let that creativity shine,” she said.

Mynarcik’s VCT instructor, Michael Lewis, said she was a student with great potential.

“She’s energetic, creative and very excited about training for something she is so passionate about,” he said.

In addition to studying VCT, Mynarcik is president of TSTC’s Visual Arts Society, which combines web development with other VCT-related programs.

“Raychel was elected president of VAS her first semester at TSTC. And to have her come in and lead and encourage the participation we have is really impressive,” said Jennifer Piper, a Visual Communication Technology instructor.

The Visual Arts Society allows students to network and attend events where they can enhance their skills and learn more about their fields. In April, Mynarcik and 12 other members of the organization will attend the Dallas Society of Visual Communications conference to compete and showcase their skills.

“Being in that club gives so many experiences for a student that you wouldn’t normally get anywhere else,” Mynarcik said.  

Looking to the future, Mynarcik is excited and confident about the possibilities awaiting her.

“TSTC has been such a growth for me, I never thought I’d get to learn and create so quickly. I get to take something I love and earn a living and that’s amazing to think about, “ Mynarcik said.

Mynarcik is scheduled to graduate in 2019 from TSTC.

Besides being a full-time student, Mynarcik is worship director for Lorena United Methodist Church and a dance fitness instructor at Baylor University. She already has associate degrees from McLennan Community College in vocal performance and songwriting, and has released four songs on Spotify and iTunes under the name Ray Mynarcik.

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TSTC Electrical Construction Program Gives Students Bright Futures

(WACO) – Francisco Santos of Houston already knows where he wants to start his electrical construction career.

“Waco is growing,” said Santos, 22, a student at Texas State Technical College. “I want to stay here and grow with the city. There are new buildings that need to be constructed and old buildings that need attention.”

Santos, a 2014 graduate of Mirabeau B. Lamar High School in Houston’s Upper Kirby district, is scheduled to graduate in August from TSTC with an Electrical Construction certificate. In a recent lab for the Residential Wiring class, Santos said the hands-on lessons he receives help him figure out what mistakes not to make.

Jobs for electricians are expected to increase by more than 59,000 at least through 2026, with a lot contingent on the development of alternative power, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Texas had more than 57,000 electricians in 2016, according to recent data from the federal agency. The Woodlands – Houston – Sugar Land area had the most concentrated number of electricians in Texas with more than 18,000. The Waco area had more than 600 electricians.

Students can earn a certificate in Electrical Construction in TSTC’s Building Construction Technology program. Some students choose to earn the certificate in combination with the Associate of Applied Science degree in Solar Energy Technology or Energy Efficiency Specialist certificate. Students who earn all three earn what is known as the program’s “triple crown.”

Starting this semester, Electrical Construction students can earn hours toward their journeyman license while attending TSTC.

“Students are required to have 8,000 on-the-job training hours under a master electrician before they can qualify to sit for their journeyman exam,” said Letha Novosad, the lead instructor in the Building Construction Technology program, an electrical construction instructor and a master electrician in Waco.

Joe Luna, 55, of Temple is using some of the helicopter mechanic and troubleshooting skills he learned while in the U.S. Army for 15 years to pursue the Electrical Construction certificate. After graduation, he wants to pursue a Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology certificate at TSTC.

“I feel like the oldest in the class, but everyone has something to bring to the table,” Luna said. “All of us complement each other.”

TSTC’s Electrical Construction students wear red shirts when in classes. The program has about 25 students this semester.

“The students have to wear uniforms in business, so we are getting them used to it,” said Earl Leonard, statewide department chair for Building Construction Technology at TSTC. “We have electrical contractors calling us all the time. There are a lot of job opportunities.”

Novosad said Nemmer Electric and Leland Collier Electric, both in Waco, and Walker Engineering, which has locations in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio, have hired TSTC graduates in the past.

Corey Morgan, 29, of Lacy Lakeview graduated from TSTC in 2013 with an Electrical Construction certificate. He chose to pursue the electric field because of his grandfather who was a journeyman electrician. After graduation, Morgan was hired at MP Electric in Waco and is an apprentice electrician doing industrial and residential work.

Morgan, a 2007 graduate of Connally High School, said he wired his first receptacle when he was 5 years old.

“I don’t mind the risks associated with it and the hard work,” he said. “You have to take pride in this work. When we take conduit and bend it, it is artwork.”

Morgan said the National Electrical Code guides the work being done across the country.

“That is the big thing with electricians that people don’t understand,” he said. “People can wire a receptacle, but the question is: Did you do it safe and correctly?”

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TSTC Program Receives Truck Donation

(RED OAK) – The Diesel Equipment Technology program at Texas State Technical College in North Texas recently received a 2009 Freightliner Cascadia truck valued at $10,000.

The donation was made by the south Dallas location of Premier Truck Group. Jeff Wicks, assistant service manager, said the donation was made because of a customer who gave the truck’s title to the business after he could not pay for repairs.

“We ended up making the repairs and getting it running and then donating,” Wicks said. “We knew TSTC would appreciate it and that it would be a training tool relevant to what we do with the technology that is applicable for what we do. The students could learn on something that could help them.”

TSTC Provost Marcus Balch said the heavy vehicle would be used for lessons in electronics, brake systems and other diesel components. The truck will be functional but remain in the program’s lab.

“The donation is a good thing for TSTC in North Texas because as a new program, there are just some pieces of equipment that we do not have yet,” Balch said. “By this company stepping up to provide this, it is going to allow us to grow our program and grow our labs so that we have an opportunity to continue to provide equipment that is fresh out of the box.”

Premier Truck Group has more than 70 technicians, warranty personnel, foremen and delivery drivers who maintain and troubleshoot heavy commercial vehicles.

TSTC in North Texas students can earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Diesel Equipment Technology – Heavy Truck Specialization or a certificate in Diesel Equipment Technology – Heavy Truck, among others.

Diesel Equipment Technology is one of the largest programs on campus with about 50 students.

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TSTC Alumni Part of SpaceX Rocket Project

(WACO) – The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket launched in early February included a little touch of Texas State Technical College.

TSTC alumni Ryan Allen, 29, of Whitney and Russell Kent, 29, of Robinson were among several SpaceX employees who built the rocket that the private company has called the most powerful operational rocket in the world.

Kent and Allen are welders and have worked at SpaceX for four years. The men are based at SpaceX’s rocket development facility in McGregor but also travel to the company’s other facilities to work.

Allen, Kent and other co-workers in McGregor watched SpaceX’s live feed of Falcon Heavy’s launch on Feb. 6 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

“It really put it all in perspective in what a group of people can accomplish,” Kent said. “I found myself thinking that this is what it must have been like in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I tell people all the time SpaceX is making space cool again. SpaceX is bringing it back with people dreaming about being an astronaut again and working in the space industry.”

Kent graduated in 2007 from Hubbard High School in Hill County. His family’s Hubbard donut business is where Kent, then a high school student, first learned about TSTC.

“A customer came in one day and told my mom that I should do the welding program in Waco,” he said. “The rest is history. The donut thing was not for me – it is a third-generation business. I love it and it’s my family tradition. But, I wanted to do something different but I didn’t know what I wanted to do.”

Kent said he naturally took to welding. He spent a few years doing power plant maintenance before joining SpaceX.

“I strive to be the best at welding that I can be,” Kent said. “I didn’t want to fall in with the crowd. I want to be a little bit different. Don’t be scared to be different.”

Allen is a graduate of Bynum High School in Hill County.

Allen and Kent both graduated from TSTC in 2009 with Associate of Applied Science degrees in Welding Technology from TSTC.

Cody Musia, lead instructor in TSTC’s Welding Technology program in Waco, said Kent and Allen’s work is an example of being able to do welding project work close to home.

“There is a broad variety of things that can be done in welding, including structural or X-ray-quality welding,” Musia said. “There is clean-room welding, which a lot of females are better at. There is also TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding, along with robotics and automation. There are different places in the world for the welders. It’s all about the type of lifestyle you want to live.”

Carson Pearce, TSTC’s statewide transportation division director, said TSTC alumni are working to help advance space travel in other ways.

“We currently have three graduates working with Virgin Galactic on the first commercial spacecraft, Spaceship II,” Pearce said. “SpaceX has hired several graduates as well. Another huge growth area is commercial aviation. The airlines are begging us for pilots, mechanics, dispatchers and avionics technicians. The Federal Aviation Administration is hiring our graduates as they finish their air traffic control classes, and at the FAA Academy, they are almost always in the top 10 percent of the class.”

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Prospective Students Attend TSTC Open House

(BRECKENRIDGE) – Texas State Technical College in Breckenridge hosted more than 400 high school students for Open House on Friday, March 2.

The visitors were treated to talks with instructors in TSTC programs in Chemical Dependency Counseling, Environmental Technology, Vocational Nursing and Welding Technology. Faculty members from TSTC in Abilene, Brownwood and Sweetwater also attended to talk about some of their programs.

“I’m ecstatic at the turnout,” TSTC in Breckenridge Executive Director Debbie Karl said. “This was the largest open house for a TSTC campus in West Texas ever. I wanted the students to learn more about TSTC and what we offer.”

Students who visited Environmental Technology tried on hazmat suits and saw a rat play in a maze. Those who stopped by the table staffed by Culinary Arts, which is offered in Abilene, sampled food.

Vocational Nursing students showed visitors how simulated patient mannequins function. Jenny Wingate, a program instructor, said the pregnancy baby suit was popular with students.

“I hope it sparks their interest in nursing,” she said about the event.

Annette Collins, veteran programs officer for TSTC in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater, told students they could be eligible for education benefits if their parents, or any other relatives who they have lived with and been raised by for at least five years, served in the military.

Some of the school districts that sent students to the event include Albany, Boyd, Breckenridge, Eastland, Ranger and Throckmorton.

Zachary Canada, 17, a senior at Olney High School in Young County, saw the Breckenridge campus for the first time at the event.

“I want to check out Wind Energy Technology and see what they have,” Canada said. “I have family that are in it. They said it was a good thing to look at.”

All of Breckenridge High School’s students walked to the campus at scheduled times throughout the morning to visit the event.

“We are always talking about what you are going to do,” Breckenridge High School Principal Bryan Dieterich said. “We want the students to know every opportunity.”

Dieterich said the high school was fortunate to have TSTC so close for students to visit.

“A lot of schools our size don’t have this opportunity,” he said.

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