Author Archives: Debra Gonzalez

TSTC in Sweetwater to Host Blood Drive

(SWEETWATER) – Texas State Technical College will host a Meek Blood Center blood drive from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17, in front of the Student Center on the TSTC campus in Sweetwater.

Griselda Sanchez, community standards liaison at TSTC, said the students requested that the school host the drive.

“They wanted to donate and asked if I could make that arrangement,” she said.

Sanchez hopes to make the blood drive a recurring event on campus.

“We have had this in the past, but it was a few years back,” she said. “I want to make it a regular thing, and the Meek Blood Center is really excited to do that. I feel like TSTC should be known as a location that not only is here to educate our students in technologies, but also in serving opportunities.”

TSTC hopes the drive will help those in need of this lifesaving gift.

“Many have a personal tie to donating, so in lieu of naming this drive, I hope each student and employee who donates comes with their special person in mind,” Sanchez said.

Frances Baker, marketing and business development manager at Meek Blood Center, said donating blood is a powerful action.

“We don’t have a lot of opportunities in our lives to save someone else’s life, but blood donation is one way to do that,” Baker said. “You can save three lives with one donation. There’s a lot of power in the blood.”

Sanchez said everyone benefits from the drive.

“Those in need of blood benefit, and those who donate will feel like they have made a difference.”

Meek donations benefit patients over a large area.

“Meek Blood Center provides blood to 17 area hospitals, including Sweetwater’s Rolling Plains,” Baker said.

Donors will receive a T-shirt. For more information on the blood drive, call 325-235-7311.

EWCHEC to Host Faculty Job Fair

(HUTTO)  – Texas State Technical College and Temple College will host a faculty job fair from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25, at the East Williamson County Higher Education Center. The colleges are seeking faculty for academic and technical positions.

“Both Temple College and TSTC are in need of instructors and a candidate pool, and this will be a great opportunity for us to showcase our employment opportunities,” said TSTC Provost Edgar Padilla.

TSTC is looking to hire in the areas of HVAC, Precision Machining and Welding. Temple College is seeking instructors in all programs.

“EWCHEC offers great teaching opportunities for people who would like to teach during the day, in the evenings or during the summer,” said Temple College Director Robbin Ray.

Human resources representatives from both colleges will be available to answer questions and assist with applications.

The East Williamson County Higher Education Center is located at 1600 Innovation Blvd. in Hutto.  Anyone who is qualified to teach college-level courses is encouraged to attend. Both full-time and part-time positions are available.

For more information, call 512-759-5900.

Late Registration Ongoing at TSTC

(HUTTO) — Texas State Technical College in Williamson County is still offering late registration for the spring 2018 semester. Registration will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday, Jan. 12. Students registering late will incur a $100 late fee. Classes begin Tuesday, Jan. 16.

TSTC offers a variety of educational avenues, including certificate options and full associate degrees. High school students who want a head start on their college education may also opt for online training or dual-credit programs.

Among the many programs the college offers are Culinary Arts, Cyber Security, HVAC, Precision Machining Technology and Welding.

Students seeking financial aid should contact the TSTC Financial Aid office immediately at 254-867-3620 to allow time for processing. More information on financial aid, including an online application, is available at

For more information on registering or about the college, call 512-759-5900.

TSTC Receives Equipment From Lincoln Electric

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College has received 10 welding machines from Lincoln Electric to jump-start the welding program at its new Abilene campus.

“This support gives our students access to the newest technology out there,” said TSTC Interim Provost Rick Denbow. “Our students have the advantage of becoming familiar with industry-standard equipment before they begin working.”

Lead TSTC welding instructor Gregory Nicholas said the equipment is highly advanced and will be utilized to its highest potential.

“This support from Lincoln provides our students with the most up-to-date multiprocess welders on the market,” Nicholas said. “It gives them every tool needed and available to become the welder that industry needs. These machines will help TSTC ensure that our students are proficient in all welding processes and can pursue a career in the industry.”

The Lincoln Electric equipment is from their Power Wave, Power Feed and FlexTec lines.

“Lincoln Electric is pleased to support and advance Texas State Technical College’s welding program,” said Jason Scales, Lincoln Electric’s business manager, education. “By expanding access to state-of-the art welding solutions, training and skills, TSTC graduates are better positioned to build successful, long-term careers in advanced manufacturing.”

With the upcoming addition of the welding program at the Abilene campus, TSTC will offer welding at all 10 of its locations. Officials broke ground on Abilene’s new campus last April, and classes are set to begin there this fall. The new building, which is being constructed off Loop 322 next to Abilene Regional Airport, will also house Electrical Power & Controls and Industrial Maintenance Technology programs.

Lincoln Electric is the world leader in the design, development and manufacture of arc welding products, robotic arc welding systems, plasma and oxyfuel cutting equipment. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Lincoln has 63 manufacturing locations, including operations and joint ventures in 23 countries and a worldwide network of distributors and sales offices covering more than 160 countries.

For more information on TSTC, visit

TSTC Receives 2018 Military Friendly Gold Designation

(TEXAS) – Texas State Technical College has received a 2018 Military Friendly Schools Gold designation, marking the third year that TSTC has been selected as a Military Friendly School by Victory Media.


Up from last year’s silver designation, the gold status signifies that TSTC has programs that scored within 20 percent of the 10th-ranked institution within that category.


The Military Friendly Schools list is created each year based on extensive research using public data sources for more than 8,800 schools nationwide, input from student veterans, and responses to the proprietary, data-driven Military Friendly Schools survey from participating institutions.


Ratings are determined by combining the institution’s survey scores with an assessment of the institution’s ability to meet thresholds for student retention, graduation, job placement, loan repayment, persistence (degree advancement or transfer) and loan default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans.


TSTC serves over 1,100 veterans and their dependents across its 10 campuses statewide. The college aims to help veterans and service members make the transition from military to civilian life an easy one, and it hosts Veteran Centers at most of its campuses. These centers serve as a one-stop location to help veterans through the process of applying for school, GI benefits and financial aid, as well as registering for classes.


“We are honored to receive this designation because all Americans owe our security and our way of life to the brave women and men who serve in the armed forces to protect us all,” said TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser. “Accordingly, TSTC puts extra effort into creating a college environment that is veteran-friendly. It is the least we could do for these valiant patriots.”


Steve Guevara, TSTC’s director of Veteran Programs, said the award is a great acknowledgment.


“TSTC is committed to providing excellent service to those that served our country and their families,” Guevara said. “The gold award is a great recognition of TSTC’s ongoing efforts to support military veterans in achieving their goal in higher education.”


Guevara is proud to assist other veterans in the transition.


“Veterans serve and protect our country and our way of life,” he said. “We have the privilege to show our gratitude for their service and honor them and their families for their sacrifices. Personally, I’m helping my brothers and sisters in arms. It brings me great joy to see our veterans succeed.”


Victory Media, which is not affiliated with or the property of the U.S. Department of Defense or any other federal agency, hopes the list competition encourages schools to offer better programs for veterans.


“Our ability to apply a clear, consistent standard to colleges creates a competitive atmosphere that encourages colleges to invest in programs to provide educational outcomes that are better for veterans,” said Victory Media’s Chief Product Officer Daniel Nichols.


The 2017-18 Military Friendly Schools list will be published in the December issue of G.I. Jobs magazine and can be found at


For more information on TSTC and its veteran programs, visit

TSTC in Williamson County Fall Commencement to be held Friday

(HUTTO) – When Industrial Maintenance student Jesse Franco walks the stage at Texas State Technical College’s fall commencement Friday, he’ll be completing a long-anticipated goal.

Franco began taking classes at TSTC in Williamson County in 2015, but his work schedule only allowed him to attend school part time.

“Normally half of the guys graduate in three or four semesters, a year and a half,” Franco said. “It took me almost three years. I’m very happy right now. I’m making sure I’m going to walk too, because I earned it. Golly, I earned it.”

Franco began the degree hoping to become a maintenance mechanic at ICU Medical, where he has worked for 17 years.

“I always wanted to be a mechanic there at work, but unfortunately I needed the degree,” Franco said. “They don’t take your word for it, even if you can show them you have experience. They want to know you can do it, and how do they know? Your degree. So whenever this school opened in Hutto, I was very excited because I didn’t want to drive an hour and a half to Waco to get it done. When this school opened, it opened up a lot of opportunities for me.”

The degree Franco will earn Friday helped him go a step further than maintenance mechanic. Earlier this year he was promoted to supervisor.

“I manage and supervise 20 people on the production line,” Franco said. “I make sure everything is running okay and communicate with the mechanics.”

Industrial Maintenance instructor Lance Antilley said Franco is a hard worker.

“Jesse deserves this,” Antilley said. “He would help the younger guys in class. He was kind of a leader to them because he could share his life experience.”

Franco is among 46 students eligible for graduation at the Williamson County campus and will finish his time at TSTC with a 4.0 GPA.

He enjoyed the technical aspects of TSTC.

“I’m more hands-on than I am a bookworm,” he said. “It’s great to be able to do the book work and actually put it into practice. For me, it stays better and I learn quicker that way too.”

He also enjoyed the rapport with his instructors.

“The instructors see our weaknesses and try to make them our strengths,” Franco said. “They guide us, and I like that a lot. They get involved with us and try to have a relationship with you. That’s what I enjoy about it. You’re not just being taught; you actually get to build a relationship, even with your fellow classmates as well. There’s a strong bonding, and that’s what I enjoyed the most.”

His advice to those considering TSTC? Put in the work.

“The resources are there for you to learn and to graduate; you need to do the work, though,” Franco said. “Everybody is willing to help you out.”

TSTC provides training in specialized, hands-on instructional courses leading to Associate of Applied Science degrees and Certificates of Completion in areas such as Cyber Security, HVAC, Industrial Maintenance, Culinary and more.

TSTC has more than 1,100 candidates for commencement this fall across the state and is now enrolling for the spring semester. To apply, visit

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TSTC Welding Instructor Honored for 25 Years of Teaching

(HUTTO) – The American Welding Society honored Texas State Technical College welding instructor A. Keith Wojcik for 25 years of service in the welding industry and in higher education at its annual FABTECH conference in Chicago.

Wojcik said the award is a personal milestone.


“It means that I didn’t give up,” Wojcik said. “It’s 25 years of persistence, 25 years of plugging away. The reason my students got to see that is because I wanted them to understand the importance of being a professional and I did that by my actions, not by my words.”


Wojcik was inspired to become a welder by his college professor Roy Hulfachor.


“He told me, didn’t ask, but told me I was going to be his lab assistant and I was going to teach an introductory class,” Wojcik said. “He was a great man. He became my professor, my boss, my mentor, my guidance counselor and, probably the biggest thing, is he was a friend of mine. So I didn’t get to choose welding, it chose me.”


Early after graduating from college, Wojcik began both welding and teaching.


“I’ve done both for virtually my entire career,” Wojcik said. “I would weld during the day and I would teach at night. It started one week after I had graduated. I was told by Roy that the local community college needed a welding instructor, so I became the welding department at Kishwaukee Community College in Malta, Illinois. I was a department of one.”


Later, Wojcik went on to work at Caterpillar Inc. in Aurora, Illinois.


“I started as a welder and got into management training at that point, at the ripe old age of 23,” Wojcik said. “I became the youngest supervisor ever in that plant. And I taught school at night. I taught continuing education for the Aurora school district.”


Later, Wojcik moved to Houston where he worked for Airco Technical, and started the Research and Development department at CRC Automatic Welding with his Airco co-workers. After getting married and having a daughter, the family moved to the Austin area, where he taught welding at Austin Community College for 13 years. He began teaching at TSTC in April of 2012.


Wojcik, currently a Round Rock resident, said his proudest moment as a teacher came at the FABTECH conference, when he saw a former student speak.


“I was so proud when I heard the words uttered ‘My name is Alejandro Alvarez and I’m a doctoral candidate in Welding Engineering at Ohio State University,’” Wojcik said. “I met his advisor and he said ‘Alex speaks very highly of you because you pushed him in that direction.’ That is the pinnacle of my teaching career: that I inspired somebody so much that he would get a doctorate in Welding Engineering. It doesn’t get better than that.”


Three of Wojcik’s welding students attended the conference in Chicago as well.


“I know I’m making an impact because I have three students that showed up in Chicago just to see what was going on,” he said. “The only draw was this show and the fact that I was getting an award. They all came back excited. I’m passing on the torch, if you will.”


Wojcik credits his mentors with helping him in his career and is glad to show his students that way as well.


“I’ve had many great mentors who never really gave me a straight answer; instead they gave me a path to follow,” Wojcik said. “I try to do the same. It’s not about the end, it’s about the career.”


The American Welding Society (AWS) was founded in 1919, as a nonprofit organization with a global mission to advance the science, technology and application of welding and allied joining and cutting processes. AWS strives to move the industry forward in both thought and action, as well as inspire new generations to see the exciting career opportunities available today.


For more information on Texas State Technical College and the welding program, visit

Texas State Representative Visits TSTC Campus

(WACO) – State Rep. and House Appropriations Committee Chairman John Zerwas, R-Richmond, along with officials from Educate Texas and the Texas Association of Manufacturers, visited the Texas State Technical College campus Monday, November 27.

Educate Texas, a catalyst for large-scale education systems change, has partnered with public and private educational entities to improve public and higher education systems in Texas. The goal of the visit was for the groups involved to shine a light on the types of education being offered at TSTC.


“These organizations asked if they could host a tour on our campus for Rep. John Zerwas so that he could get a firsthand experience with the type of education and opportunities that TSTC produces,” said Roger Miller, TSTC vice chancellor and chief government affairs officer. “We were somewhat of a co-host, but this was actually the idea of Educate Texas, the Texas Association of Manufacturers and the Texas Business Leadership Council.”


Zerwas serves the citizens of Texas House District 28, which includes Fort Bend County, where TSTC operates its newest campus. In the 84th Legislative Session, he also served as Chairman of the House Committee on Higher Education. Zerwas said the visit to Waco helped him realize the breadth of opportunities TSTC can offer.


“This is where it all began, so this is a great opportunity to see where the program was born and to see what it’s become since then,” Zerwas said. “The Fort Bend campus, since it just started, has a limited number of programs they can offer. Here at the oldest campus, they have an enormous number of job skills training opportunities. I found each one of them interesting.”


TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser said it’s important that people see the value of the programs offered at TSTC.


“A lot of times technical education is seen as a consolation prize,” Reeser said. “The programs we offer here are more than that. Who wouldn’t want to be an air traffic controller? Corporate America is finally beginning to talk to students about job opportunities in careers like these.”


The tour showed visitors a look at the Aerospace, Instrumentation, Electrical Power & Controls, Precision Machining and Welding programs. Several instructors pressed the significance of the skills gap, a shortage of middle-skilled workers to fill open positions.


“We’re seeing the greatest shortage of commercial pilots since the 1950s,” said TSTC Transportation Division Director Carson Pearce. “There are 617,000 jobs available, and that doesn’t include aviation maintenance technicians. We can get a student in and season them in two years, but as fast as we can do that isn’t fast enough to fill the positions.”


TSTC Precision Machining instructor George Love shared the same sentiments.


“My biggest burden right now is that I’m letting 60 to 70 jobs go unfilled every semester,” Love said. “It’s a weight on my shoulders. If I can provide an extra 60 to 70 students, I could meet the needs I know about in the state of Texas right now.”


Zerwas hopes TSTC’s high-quality graduates can help beat the stigma around technical education and lessen the skills gap.


“More of these graduates being percolated through communities will get people asking, ‘How did you get there?’ And they’ll say, ‘Well I started at TSTC,’ and it gave them a great start. There are lots of ways and efforts to communicate this down to the high schools, and it’s very important. Our future is highly vested in cranking out that highly skilled workforce.”


For more information on TSTC, visit

Mark Your Calendar: TSTC Registration Rally on Nov. 29

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College in Abilene will host a Registration Rally on Wednesday, Nov. 29 – all part of an effort to make the registration process as easy as possible for incoming students.


Recruiting and Admissions staff will be on standby to walk students through the registration process. They will also offer tours and help with applications.


The Registration Rally will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the main campus. Attendees will be able to meet with faculty, learn more about the different technologies offered at the Abilene campus and tour the facilities.


In addition to Recruiting and Admissions; personnel from Financial Aid, Testing, Student Success and Veteran Services will be available to answer questions and lend a helping hand. Prospective students will be able to learn all about resources available to them.


Students who need help finalizing their registration are encouraged to bring the following: copy of driver’s license, high school transcript or GED, any college transcripts, proof of bacterial meningitis vaccination and TSI scores.


For more information on the Registration Rally, go to

Mark Your Calendar: TSTC Registration Rally on Nov. 28

(SWEETWATER) – Texas State Technical College in Sweetwater will host a Registration Rally on Tuesday, Nov. 28 – all part of an effort to make the registration process as easy as possible for incoming students.   

Recruiting and Admissions staff will be on standby to walk students through the registration process. They will also offer tours and help with applications.

The Registration Rally will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Sears Building. Attendees will be able to meet with faculty, learn more about the different technologies offered at the Sweetwater campus and tour the facilities.

In addition to Recruiting and Admissions; personnel from Financial Aid, Testing, Student Success and Veteran Services will be available to answer questions and lend a helping hand. Prospective students will be able to learn all about resources available to them.

Prospective students who need help finalizing their registration are encouraged to bring the following: copy of driver’s license, high school transcript or GED, any college transcripts, proof of bacterial meningitis vaccination, housing application and TSI scores.

For more information on the Registration Rally, go to