Author Archives: Daniel Perry

TSTC Gives Military Members, Veterans Education Opportunities in West Texas

(ABILENE) – Shawn Ogden of Clyde wants to continue working in the aircraft industry after discovering the career as a mechanic in the U.S. Air Force.

But, he knew after leaving the military he was missing some of the certifications needed to professionally maintain aircraft.

“Going to college after being in the military can be intimidating and challenging, but it is absolutely worth the effort,” said Ogden, 43, a student at Texas State Technical College in Abilene. “The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is extremely helpful when it comes to making sure you have everything you need to complete your education.”

Guiding Ogden through his time at TSTC is Veteran Services, which works with students who were in the military or are current active-duty members, along with their spouses and dependents.

“In the military, in order to make rank and be successful, we have to have education in our background,” said Annette Collins, veteran programs officer at TSTC’s West Texas campuses.

Some of the popular programs that members of Veteran Services like to pursue include Computer Networking and Systems Administration in Abilene and Brownwood, and Nursing and Vocational Nursing in Brownwood, Breckenridge and Sweetwater.

Ogden is part of the TSTC FAST Trac Airframe and Powerplant Program in Abilene that allows active-duty military members and veterans to study in an accelerated 13-week program focused on Federal Aviation Administration curricula. Classes are taught in hangar space at Abilene Regional Airport.

“There are a lot of veterans that come out and have worked on jets and airplanes the whole time in service but they don’t have the FAA airframe and powerplant license,” said Julia Humphrey, director of career services for TSTC’s West Texas campuses. “The program is geared for them to get the license and go to work.”

Ogden said he has felt at home at TSTC and knows he will be competitive and ready for job searching once he completes academic work in December.

“TSTC offers a complete package with hands-on training, which I have never had access to before,” he said.

Veteran Services also brings people together who share experiences no matter what military branch they are affiliated with.

Veterans, their spouses and dependents can work with TSTC’s Career Services and Talent Management staff on career readiness, resume writing, networking and interview skills. The technical college also has hireTSTC, an online resource for students to connect with companies that have job openings tailored to certificate and associate degree programs.

“I like TSTC because of the way they take care of their students,” said Collins, a 24-year U.S. Air Force veteran. “The staff is willing to go above and beyond to help the students get the education they need.”

A lot of TSTC’s student recruitment is focused on Dyess Air Force Base, which has more than 5,000 active-duty and U.S. Department of Defense civilian employees and an economic impact of more than $441 million, according to the Abilene Industrial Foundation. The military installation is also the largest employer in Taylor County.

“A lot of the active-duty personnel ask about their benefits and if their spouses can use the benefits,” Collins said. “Yes, they can.”

TSTC will have Registration Rally events for the fall semester on Aug. 2 in Sweetwater, Aug. 3 in Breckenridge, Aug. 8 in Brownwood and Aug. 11 in Abilene.

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

TSTC Student Q&A with Ryan Williams of Waxahachie

(RED OAK) – Ryan Williams, 27, of Waxahachie is a Logistics Technology major at Texas State Technical College in North Texas.

Williams was raised in Longview and is a 2009 graduate of East Texas Christian School.

How did you find out about TSTC in North Texas? “I was going to classes (at TSTC) in Marshall but I wanted to change majors.”

What got you interested in studying Logistics Technology? “I’ve always worked in a distribution aspect of the jobs I’ve had in the past. I thought I would do well in the program. So far I am enjoying the classes.”

Do you do better with hands-on learning or book learning? “I do a mix of both, but I usually like the hands-on training so I can see where I mess up and improve from that.”

What advice would you give to students considering your major or going to TSTC? “Stick with the work and don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

What do you enjoy doing away from classes and studying? “I usually like reading fantasy and science fiction books. I’m a big nerd. I like playing video games or board games.”

Some of the fields that Logistics Technology graduates can pursue include manufacturing, technical services or government. Graduates can pursue professional certifications from the International Society of Logistics or the American Production and Inventory Control Society.

The United States had more than 130,000 logistician jobs in 2014, with the figure expected to rise by 2,500 positions through 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Texas had more than 13,000 logisticians in May 2016, with a majority centered in The Woodlands – Houston – Sugar Land area. The Dallas – Plano – Irving area had more than 3,200 positions, with an average mean wage of $79,300. The Longview area had 40 logistician jobs, with an average mean wage of more than $68,000.

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

TSTC Instructor Chosen for National Test Writing

(MARSHALL) – A Texas State Technical College instructor recently participated in a weeklong CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association) examination development week in suburban Chicago.

Robert Brown, an instructor of Information Technology Studies, worked with nationwide professionals in the cloud management, technology infrastructure, programming, database administration and education fields to develop questions for the CompTIA IT Fundamentals examination. The test is expected to be offered nationwide in 2018 and is updated every three years. CompTIA is a nonprofit trade association providing worldwide vendor-neutral information technology certifications.

“CompTIA doesn’t have subject matter experts all the time, so what they do is reach out and try to get input,” Brown said.

Brown said the subject debate process to develop test questions was stimulating because of the group’s expertise in different areas.

“My biggest takeaway was how much CompTIA puts into test preparation and how much time they vet the quality,” he said. “They do their due diligence to make sure the industry is who is writing the test.”

Brown said he took advantage of telling group members about TSTC.

“I talked about how we are focused on getting jobs for Texans,” he said. “Most of them were jealous and said they wished their states would do what TSTC does. They really liked what they heard.”

Brown was chosen by CompTIA through an application process.

Randy Haley, associate vice president for student learning at TSTC, said Brown was a great choice for the nationwide committee.

“He knows what students need to do the jobs and what they need to know right now,” Haley said. “Being a part of that and helping with that is really an honor.”

Haley said TSTC students in Marshall test for CompTIA certifications in Network+, Security+ and A+ through the Computer Networking and Systems Administration and Cyber Security programs. He said the CompTIA IT Fundamentals test will be added this fall.

“We feel giving students the chance to take the certification tests and them passing increases their chances of getting a better job making more money,” Haley said.

Brown has been at TSTC since 2013. Before coming to the Marshall campus, he was co-owner of Inhouse Associates, an internet development firm in Longview.

Brown received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Commercial Art in 1994 from Kilgore College. He was also a member of the Commercial Art Club and Phi Theta Kappa – Gamma Omicron Chapter.

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

 

TSTC Offering a Pipeline to Fill Plumbing Jobs

(WACO) – Cade West of Boerne already had plumbing, welding and oil field experience before registering for classes at Texas State Technical College.

He did the work after graduating in 2013 from TMI – The Episcopal School of Texas in San Antonio and briefly attending a four-year university.

“Our instructors tell us to treat school like a job,” said West, 22.

West is working toward an Associate of Applied Science degree in Building Construction Technology – Project Management Inspection Specialization at TSTC. One of the classes West is taking this summer for the associate degree is Piping Standards and Materials, which is also included in the Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology certificate program.

After graduation in 2018, West said he wants to work in the construction field and have the plumbing background to use when needed.

“It’s an honest living,” he said.

The need for pipefitters, plumbers and steamfitters is expected to grow nationwide by more than 49,000 jobs through 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some of the largest employment fields include building equipment contracting, nonresidential building construction and utility system construction.

Texas had more than 40,000 pipefitters, plumbers and steamfitters as of May 2016. Workers were earning a mean average annual salary of $46,100, according to the federal labor statistics bureau.

The Woodlands – Houston – Sugar Land metropolitan area had the most pipefitters, plumbers and steamfitters in Texas with 13,000 workers as of May 2016. The Dallas – Plano – Irving metropolitan area had more than 8,600 workers in the same period. The Waco area had more than 300 workers, according to the federal labor statistics bureau.

“In Waco, there is a huge demand for qualified service technicians in both the plumbing and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) markets,” said Don Masten of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 529 in Waco. “Waco is aging, and we need trained people to maintain the buildings and homes as well as the aging infrastructure. With changes in technology, the process of building has sped up and become more efficient.”

Students in TSTC’s Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology certificate program take three semesters of hands-on classes to learn about backflow prevention, steam piping, blueprint reading and other topics.

“We are losing our older generation and don’t have as many younger people who want to get their hands dirty,” said Jimmy Bibb, a plumbing and pipefitting instructor in TSTC’s Building Construction Technology program. “We are more in the line of technicians.”

Bibb said school districts should include plumbing and pipefitting in curricula, similar to how construction technology and welding are offered for high school students through specialized technical career tracks.

Bibb said the typical student entering TSTC’s certificate program should not be afraid to work. He knows all too well what it takes to earn the Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology certificate from TSTC – he did it in 2009.

The Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners administers the testing and licensing for people working in the fields of plumbing, medical gas piping installation, public water supply protection, sewage disposal and natural gas.

Masten said Texas requires 8,000 registered hours as a plumber’s apprentice before taking the journeyman licensing examination.

“What this means is that a worker will have to be on the job and registered with the state for approximately four years before he or she will be considered eligible for the state exam,” Masten said. “This isn’t by accident. Plumbing is very diverse and despite improvements in material and technology, the science behind it has not changed. It takes that amount of experience under a qualified journeyman to gain the skills necessary to do the job correctly and efficiently.”

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

 

TSTC Receives Donation from Longview Business

(MARSHALL) – Texas State Technical College recently received a valuable in-kind donation from a Longview business.

In June the Airgas Store donated welding wire valued at more than $47,000. The store, one of more than 60 operated by Airgas in Texas, specializes in welding equipment and rentals, specialty gases and fire safety equipment.

The wiring will be used primarily by welding students and is expected to last two years, said Danny Nixon, an instructor in TSTC’s Computer Aided Manufacturing program in Marshall.

“A lot of times when you get deep into the fiscal year, money gets tight,” Nixon said. “This is a huge gift.”

This was the first time Airgas had made a gift to TSTC, said Jeffrey White, an Airgas account manager in Longview.

“This gives the students the opportunity to learn different welding processes they may come across once they graduate,” White said.

The gifting process started with White and an Airgas welding process specialist visiting TSTC in the winter to assess the Welding Technology program because of a request to buy new welding machines.

“I remember thinking how great it was that these students were getting a hands-on approach to welding and learning skills that would help them out immediately after graduation,” White said. “We ended by finding the right machines for them and started discussing other projects that we might be able to help them with.”

White said the business had excess welding wiring and he felt it could be put to good to use by TSTC’s welding students.

“Once approved, I got with Danny Nixon and gave him the list of different types of wire we had and asked if they could use it,” White said. “Turns out they could use everything on the list, so we loaded up our delivery truck and delivered it.”

Airgas is based in Radnor, Pennsylvania.

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

Marshall Welding Student generic

TSTC Student Q&A with Sergio Gutierrez of Red Oak

(RED OAK) – Sergio Gutierrez, 20, is a Computer Aided Drafting and Design Technology major at Texas State Technical College in North Texas. He is TSTC’s first Student Government Association president and is scheduled to graduate in August.

He is a 2015 graduate of Red Oak High School, where he played soccer and was a member of Hawks Against Destructive Decisions Inspiring Teens (HADDIT).

How did you learn about TSTC? “It was during a tour. I was taking drafting at the high school and I saw the program here and decided to take it. The campus is really convenient and I like it a lot. I don’t have to be away from my family.”

What do you enjoy about Computer Aided Drafting and Design Technology? “I like the 3-D modeling. I have gotten good at it. I like to make costume parts, and in architecture you can make houses.”

Do you get to use the program’s 3-D printers? “It’s really fantastic. We have three and they are pretty cool. I can make the costume parts and print them out and use them.”

What have you done in the Student Government Association? “Right now I’m the only member. Student involvement is a big factor. SGA helped start clubs for Diesel Equipment Technology and Welding. I hope SGA continues after I graduate. Being the first sets the standard.”

What kind of work experience are you getting while in college? “I am doing an internship at my uncle’s cabinet shop. I am making drawings in AutoCAD and they look good. I have learned a lot to get out in the field.”

Registration for fall semester is taking place now, with two special Registration Rally events planned from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on July 13 and Aug. 8 at TSTC in North Texas.

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

_DSC0593 north texas sergio gutierrez july 11, 2017

TSTC Honored for Transformational Funding Formula

(WACO) – Texas State Technical College was recently nationally recognized for shifting to an outcomes-based funding formula tied to graduates’ employment in their associate degree fields.

TSTC received an Innovation Award from Eduventures, a research and advisory firm analyzing trends in higher education that is part of the National Research Center for College and University Admissions. Michigan State University, Purdue University and Wellesley College also received the award.

The award recognizes achievements in higher education student enrollment management, outcomes and success. The award was given in June at the Eduventures Summit 2017 in Boston.

“The recognition by Eduventures is greatly appreciated, but it’s really only part of the story,” TSTC Provost Adam Hutchison said.

TSTC undertook the challenge issued in 2007 by the Texas legislature to adopt outcomes-based performance measures. Various state agencies worked to develop the technical college’s initiative, including the Texas Workforce Commission and the Legislative Budget Board.

“We have been freed from just focusing on the amount of time students spend in the classroom or lab,” Hutchison said. “Instead, we are able to focus our instruction and our support structures on the skills and competencies that graduates need in the industry.”

TSTC’s 10 campuses have access to Career Services and Talent Management staff who work with students on the full range of job hunting, from writing eye-catching resumes to improving interview skills. Students put their skills to good use at campus employer spotlight events and Industry Career Day activities by networking with prospective companies. Many students have job offers by the time they graduate.

Students also have access to hireTSTC, a resource for linking to job openings in degree-serving industries statewide.

“We go out and make on-site visits all the time and build partnerships and relationships with employers,” said Julia Humphrey, director of Career Services and Talent Management for TSTC’s West Texas campuses. “They can call us and say they want the employees.”

TSTC’s combined graduate earnings of annual cohorts increased 70 percent from 2009 to 2015, according to the award application. In the same period, the average graduate adjusted starting wages increased 13 percent and the number of graduates working after college rose 48 percent.

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

 

TSTC and Baylor University Provide Flying Opportunities for Students

(WACO) – Texas State Technical College in Waco and Baylor University’s Institute for Air Science have partnered since 1991 to provide opportunities for students to learn about aviation.

“TSTC has been flight training for a long time,” said William “Trey” Cade III, director of Baylor’s Institute for Air Science. “It was only logical if we were going to have a partnership for a flight program, we would partner with TSTC.”

Baylor and TSTC alumna Bond Henderson and current Baylor and TSTC flight training student Andrew Dolan were both exposed to aviation at an early age.

Henderson, a Kennewick, Washington native, grew up listening to stories of her grandfather flying “Hueys,” the nickname for Bell UH-1 Iroquois helicopters, in the Vietnam War.

Henderson, 23, took her first discovery airplane flight while in high school, which quickly stoked her interest in flying. She graduated in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in aviation science – professional pilot concentration from Baylor University and has an associate degree in aircraft pilot training from TSTC.

Henderson is now a fixed-wing instructor at TSTC and also working on helicopter pilot certifications.

“Baylor is a fantastic university,” she said. “This program brought me out of the ‘Baylor bubble’ and got me into more of Waco. I am thankful for the joint partnership. It gave me a real experience for the aviation industry and exposed me to more opportunities.”

Dolan, 21, knew he wanted to study aviation and attend a Christian university when he was attending high school in Ladera Ranch, Calif. He is majoring in the aviation science – professional pilot concentration at Baylor and is doing flight training at TSTC. Dolan is scheduled to graduate from Baylor in spring 2018.

He flies three times a week, weather permitting, with the hours in the air going toward his goal of flying in the U.S. Air Force or working for a West Coast and Hawaiian regional airline.

“TSTC is close to Baylor,” Dolan said. “It’s nice to get off campus. You can segment what you are doing. At TSTC, you don’t have the distractions. We (the Baylor aviation students) wear green, gray or black shirts. I have had some amazing instructors. Being at TSTC has been great.”

Carson Pearce, director of TSTC’s Aerospace Division, said there is a need for students to consider aviation because of the need for qualified pilots. Pearce said by 2024 there will be a projected shortage of 22,500 pilots worldwide.

“We are looking at the greatest shortage of pilots since the 1950s,” Pearce said. “This is due to the increase in commercial flights and retirements. There are airlines on our advisory board that are laying off aircraft because there aren’t pilots.”

Baylor offers bachelor’s degrees in aviation administration and aviation sciences concentrations in professional pilot, air traffic control and aircraft dispatch.

TSTC has associate degrees and certificates in the aircraft airframe technician, aircraft dispatch technology, aircraft pilot training technology and aircraft powerplant technology programs.

Baylor students can transfer their credits to TSTC to earn corresponding associate degrees, which is what Henderson chose to do.

Aviation was not what factored into Henderson’s college decision – it was her sense of adventure. She settled on Baylor after taking a campus tour and becoming enraptured by the buildings and trees. She enrolled as a business major but kept the possibility of aviation in her mind.

“Aviation turned into everything I love: there is business, physics, geometry, the human factors,” she said.

During the holiday break of her freshman year at Baylor, Henderson received flying lessons as a holiday gift. Then during the summer between her freshman and sophomore years, she took more lessons and got a private pilot’s license.

Henderson came across the aviation science curriculum on Baylor’s website and decided she found what she wanted to study. She shifted into the program a week before her sophomore year, which she said gave her motivation and focus with her college life and career goals.

Henderson learned about TSTC when she began taking Baylor’s aviation classes. At first she did not have a concept of what a two-year institution “looked” and “felt” like, but once she toured the James B. Connally Aerospace Center and TSTC Airport, she knew there were hands-on learning opportunities she had to take part in.

Henderson wants to fly helicopter tours at the Grand Canyon and later fly for emergency medical situations.

“Flying a helicopter is quite demanding and I love it so much,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to find something where I am helping the community,” she said.

For more information on Baylor University’s Institute for Air Science, go to baylor.edu/aviation.

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

_DSC0611 bond henderson baylor tstc aviation July 2017

_DSC0615 andrew dolan baylor tstc aviation july 2017

 

TSTC in Waco Hosts Area Counselors and Teachers

(WACO) – Prosper Waco and its Project Link initiative, along with the Heart of Texas P-20 Regional Council, hosted teachers from area high schools this week for the High School Counselor Summer Fly-In to learn about collegiate academic and technical programs and admissions processes.

More than 20 counselors and teachers from Bell, Falls and McLennan counties, along with Project Link staff, learned about academic pathways at McLennan Community College and technical programs such as Air Traffic Control, Electronics Technology and Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology at Texas State Technical College.

“It was very good to enlighten them about the programs and have them make connections,” said Brandon Chappell, TSTC’s Project Link outreach specialist. “We try to show them what we have in relation to the high schools’ courses.”

During the daylong visit on Thursday at TSTC, workshop attendees learned about internship and on-site learning and research opportunities for students in the Radiation Protection Technology program, career outlooks in the Electrical Power and Controls program and the space education work that groups can undertake at the Challenger Learning Center. Attendees also learned how students can work with Career Services staff.

Stacey Talley, a career and technical education teacher at Waco High School, said the workshop inspired her to set up a corner of her classroom dedicated to TSTC and MCC to motivate her students to take closer looks if they feel like four-year colleges are not viable career goals.

“I want to be knowledgeable and a resource to help get them to the next step,” Talley said. “Everyone at MCC and TSTC is very focused on helping the students get the job, get employability skills and the contacts with industry leaders.”

Project Link is a partnership between the nonprofit organization, TSTC, MCC, the La Vega Independent School District and the Waco Independent School District to promote a college-going culture among the city’s high school students and families.

The High School Counselor Summer Fly-In was made possible by a TG Philanthropy grant announced in May and awarded to McLennan Community College and Prosper Waco to expand the Project Link initiative to Waco High School. The $149,700 grant is for 18 months.

For more information on Project Link, go to prosperwaco.org/project-link/.

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

_DSC0636 counselor visit june 29, 2017

TSTC in Waco Students Bring Home National SkillsUSA Medals

(WACO) – The second time was just as golden for Marcus Crespin of Victoria.

Crespin, 21, a Computer Maintenance Technology and Computer Networking and Systems Administration major at Texas State Technical College in Waco, earlier this month received his second consecutive gold medal in Residential Systems Installation and Maintenance at SkillsUSA’s 53rd National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

Students at TSTC in Waco won five SkillsUSA medals this year: two gold, one silver and two bronze. This year marked the most medals won since 2011 when SkillsUSA members won eight medals, according to James Matus, TSTC’s statewide SKillsUSA manager.

Crespin’s contest lasted more than five hours and involved installing an antenna along with networking a smart doorbell, home thermometer and security camera. He also took a written test.

Crespin said he felt pressure to repeat his feat from 2016 of winning the gold medal in the same event. He said he had doubts on the bus ride to Kentucky.

“I was less confident when they called the third place winner and then the second place winner,” he said. “When they called my name, I almost cried on the spot. It was unbelievable.”

Juan Gongora, a classmate of Crespin’s from Victoria, won a silver medal in Information Technology Services. He finished seventh in last year’s contest. Gongora, 21, is majoring in Computer Maintenance Technology, Cloud and Data Center Management and Computer Networking and Systems Administration and is scheduled to graduate in December.

Gongora’s contest examined participants’ knowledge of 10 modules, including Linux, Windows Registry, mobile devices and viruses and malware. He prepared for the contest by studying and using material he learned in classes.

Gongora also accomplished another goal: he collected pins from every state and U.S. territory represented at the conference. He collected his last pin the day of the closing ceremony by trading for a Hawaii pin.

“You would trade Texas pins, and if you had other states’ pins you traded them too,” Gongora said.

The Quiz Bowl team made of Pete Baus, Cameron Burt, Christopher Dunn, Louis Garcia, James Pearson, Justin Tucker and Robert White won the bronze medal. The team was tested on current events, general academic knowledge, professional development and SkillsUSA facts.

“It was a lot of practice,” said Baus, 23, of Waco and a Cyber Security, Computer Networking and Systems Administration, Computer Maintenance Technology and Digital Forensics major from Waco. “Our team was basically the same from last year when we finished fourth. We would meet each Wednesday for two hours. Honestly, there was a lot of confidence.”

Baus said he learned more about teamwork and research while preparing and competing for the Quiz Bowl contest.

Also placing in the top three in conference categories were Joshua Hall, Zachary McLeskey and Peggy Sue Pilant, who earned a gold medal in Chapter Display, and Amy Bartlett and Charlene Knox, who received bronze in Interactive Application and Video Game Development.

TSTC in Waco sent more than 40 students who won gold medals at SkillsUSA’s statewide postsecondary contest held in the spring in Waco to this year’s national conference.

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

_DSC0621 Waco SkillsUSA Quiz Bowl June 29, 2017

_DSC0632 Waco Marcus and Juan SkillsUSA June 29, 2017