Author Archives: Debra Gonzalez

TSTC Raises Money for Scholarships at Annual Welding Event

(HUTTO) – Ten teams competed in Texas State Technical College’s 2nd Annual Welding Pro-Am competition and Show-n-Shine Saturday, Oct. 28.
Competing welders built miniature barbecue pits, which were sold after the competition to raise money for scholarships. All money raised at the event benefits the welding department at TSTC in Williamson County and will help provide scholarships for incoming students.
Teams consisted of professional welders, and a welding student from the college was assigned to compete with each team. Welding Instructor Sam Flener said the event helps students build experience.
“Being able to work with a professional and have that experience prior to going out into the profession and seeing how they work, the tools they use and the experience they bring adds another dimension to their experience,” she said.
It also helps the students build industry contacts.
“Several of our pros commented on how well the students work, and they appreciated their skill level,” Flener said. “Overall, they were really happy with the students and their performance.”
Flener hopes to keep the event going next year and spread the word about TSTC.
“It broadens our exposure in the community not just locally, but even beyond that,” she said. “It gets the word out on what we’re trying to do here and the quality of the students we’re producing.”
The team of student Jonathan Chesser and professional Troy Hendrix of BT Water Jets took first place. Student Nate Logiudice and Ky Benford of KBG Welding took second, and student Brantley Hearn along with the Samsung team placed third.
TSTC in Williamson County Provost Edgar Padilla said that overall the event was a success.
“The event has exceeded our expectations, and this year we raised thousands of dollars that will be matched via our Texan Success Scholarship campaign,” Padilla said. “Local and regional vendors supported our efforts and generously contributed to the event, and the students gained valuable insight and experience before they enter the field. We’re really excited about next year’s’ event.”
At the event, TSTC raised $13,000 from sponsorships, entry fees and raffle and food donations. The TSTC Foundation will match cash amounts raised.
For more information on Texas State Technical College, visit tstc.edu.

 

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TSTC Volunteers Create Dog Toys for Shelter Animals

(HUTTO) – Students at the East Williamson County Higher Education Center made chew toys for dogs last week as part of a volunteer event for Make a Difference Day.

Make a Difference Day is one of the largest annual days of service nationwide. The day aims to improve the lives of others, and Texas State Technical College hosted the event for students to give back to the community.

TSTC was able to donate 53 dog toys to the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter.

“It’s a win-win, as students were treated to a service project and food and we provided a valuable service to a community partner,” said TSTC Provost Edgar Padilla. “We are proud to have that component as part of our mission at TSTC.”

Adele Clinton, TSTC’s Executive Director of Student Life, said students have shown an interest in service projects over the last few years.

“They love it,” Clinton said. “When the students engage in community service, they’re learning communication skills, teamwork skills, conflict resolution, and they’re getting TSTC’s name out to communities who may not know that we’re right in their backyards. It’s also teaching students that volunteerism has been so much fun.”

TSTC began participating in Make a Difference Day at the Harlingen campus in 2008 but has recently added the volunteer projects at its other campuses.

“Since I became a state lead and TSTC became one, we’ve taken it statewide and our numbers have increased exponentially ever since,” Clinton said.

Padilla said he hopes to continue these types of projects at the school.

“At TSTC, we understand that our success depends on the support and viability of our local communities,” said Padilla. “We believe in service and understand that we’re part of a business community that is vibrant and interconnected. It’s our goal to continue to grow by cultivating relationships and showing that we care, and I’m exceptionally proud to be part of a team that takes so much pride in doing so.”

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

 

90 Employers Visit TSTC for Industry Career Day

(WACO) – More than 90 employers visited Texas State Technical College Thursday for its annual Industry Career Day event, with nearly 650 job-seeking students in attendance.

Kacey Darnell, executive director of Talent Management and Career Services at TSTC, said the event gives students a chance to get to know employers.

“Industry Career Day gives employers a chance to show off their company,and it gives the students a chance to get a really great job,” Darnell said. “A lot of times students don’t know what kind of jobs companies offer. Last spring we had an Avionics student who came to Industry Career Day and ended up working for a company called True North Marine repairing the sonar equipment on the marine boats. It’s something that aligns but is totally different than what he was expecting, and he’s done really well.”

One company in attendance, the cosmetics company Mary Kay, has participated in TSTC’s Industry Career Day for five years. The company, which manufactures its own products, hires graduates to work on their production equipment.

“We currently offer an internship to hire, which is basically a 90-day probation period where they’re truly doing packaging mechanic work,” said Mary Kay associate HR business partner Nelissa Croach. “They do preventative maintenance and run their own lines, making sure the speed of the line is accurate. Some of the machines go 30 products a minute, where others are 137 products a minute. They have to make sure they’re able to program the machines to do those things. Also if there’s a jam, they have to figure it out and get it going.”

Croach said TSTC’s training aligns well with the knowledge of their longtime employees.

“A lot of the people we have there have been there for 20 plus years and haven’t been recently trained on the new technology,” she said. “So we have these guys coming in along with our long-term employees, and together it works out really well.”

Joe Razza, regional recruiter at Crown Lift Trucks, said the company often visits TSTC’s campuses to recruit those with electronics and mechanical backgrounds.

“We take those skills, hone them and put them through training to apply that to our technology,” Razza said. “We’ve had great success, and the caliber of students is great as well. The students, as far as professionalism goes, the questions they ask, how they present themselves and their knowledge base is off the charts.”

Darnell said she often sees TSTC alumni coming back to recruit.

“We have a lot of alumni representing their companies here,” she said. “They know the training they got from TSTC, and they know they can find skilled workers here.”

Sean Shannon, an Industrial Maintenance student who graduates in December, said this is his third Industry Career Day with TSTC.

“I ran out of resumes,” he said. “I had an on-the-spot interview, so it’s looking good. This is the biggest one I’ve been to. I think they’re going to run out of room here soon!”

Part of TSTC’s mission is to meet the workforce needs of Texas, and the college places a high importance on placing students and graduates in jobs. For more information on Texas State Technical College and the college’s placement efforts, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Culinary Arts Student Awarded James Beard Foundation Scholarship

(ABILENE) – Matthew Kepner, a first-semester Culinary Arts student at Texas State Technical College in Abilene, was selected to receive a $10,000 scholarship from the James Beard Foundation.

The James Beard Foundation’s scholarship program, which was established in 1991, assists aspiring and established culinary professionals further their education at accredited culinary schools or hospitality institutions, colleges and universities. In 2016 the foundation awarded over $7 million in financial aid to more than 1,850 recipients.

Beard was a culinary pioneer and hosted the first TV food program in 1946. Also a chef, cookbook author and teacher, Beard was dubbed the “Dean of American cookery” by the New York Times.

Kepner applied for the scholarship after finding the information online, and he was excited to find out he was selected.

“I was at work when my mom got the mail,” he said. “She called me crying. It was really exciting.”

So far, the scholarship has helped Kepner in school.

“It’s really helped me with books, paying for classes and registering for everything,” Kepner said. “It helped get me supplies like notebooks, pencils and things I need like that.”

Culinary Arts instructor and chef Kayleen Moon said she sees a bright future for Kepner.

“The prepared ones are the ones that do well,” she said. “He was one of those. He started emailing me long before any of the actual paperwork to get into the school.”

She said Kepner’s cooking experience outside of school will help him succeed.

“He’s worked hard for what he has,” Moon said. “He has experience, actual chef experience in a kitchen. He knows actual culinary terms, not just ‘home kitchen words.’ When I say things like ‘depouillage,’ he knows what it means. He’s already coming in gifted and experienced.”

Kepner will graduate in 2019 and hopes to find a job working on an offshore oil rig or in Alaska.

“Since those jobs are two weeks on, two weeks off, on my two weeks off I’d like to travel abroad to learn about other cultures’ cooking and hopefully study under some other chefs,” he said.

Authentic Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine are Kepner’s favorite foods to cook.

“I love the culture and history around Mexican food and Tex-Mex,” he said. “I learned a lot from my neighbors who are from Mexico. They’ve taught me about cooking meat underground and stuff like that and cooking for hours and hours at a time. I just love the smells; they’re the best thing in the world to me.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College and the Culinary Arts program, visit tstc.edu.

International Visitors Tour TSTC Radiation Protection Program

 

(WACO) – Twenty visitors from 10 countries toured several instructional programs at Texas State Technical College on Wednesday, Oct. 25, as part of a joint collaboration between TSTC and the Nuclear Power Institute at Texas A&M University that began in 2007.

The visitors are industry professionals representing a variety of international government organizations and institutions of higher learning.

The one-day stop at TSTC was part of an International Atomic Energy Agency interregional training course designed to familiarize participants with the physics and technology behind water-cooled nuclear reactors.

Jacob Navar, TSTC Radiation Protection Technology instructor, led a campus tour that included the radiation lab and the Welding Technology and Electrical Power and Controls programs.

“My goal is to facilitate relationships and education about radiation protection,” Navar said. “It’s helpful for them to come and learn about it so they can take back what they have learned.”

Navar gave the participants a short history of TSTC and the Radiation Protection program before introducing Adam Hutchison, provost of TSTC’s Waco campus.

“What you’re experiencing today on this campus is not only a Texas partnership with our local legislature and institutions like Texas A&M, but it’s truly a global partnership,” Hutchison told the attendees. “The skills that we teach our students we hope prepare them for the world of work no matter where they are. We can serve the state of Texas and truly the entire world with the training the students get here.”

Mamadou Kanoute, a visitor from Senegal’s Ministry of Energy, voiced his excitement at visiting TSTC and seeing equipment firsthand.

“I’m delighted to be here at TSTC,” he said. “I’m a nuclear engineer. I am very happy because I have only seen (this) equipment in video. This is very useful to me because I can see the equipment in person. I will go back and inform the ministry about all I have seen. I want to send students from my country so they can study here.”

Texas District 56 Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson was also in attendance to welcome the group.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas has the second most Environmental Science and Protection Technicians in the nation, with O*Net Online reporting that the state’s percentage of jobs in the field is expected to grow by 22 percent through 2024.

The Nuclear Power Institute is a unique statewide partnership led by the Texas Engineering Experiment Station and headquartered at Texas A&M.

For more information on TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Culinary Arts Student Awarded $2,500 Grant

(ABILENE) – Gissell Lomas Tavarez, a Texas State Technical College Culinary Arts student, recently was awarded a $2,500 grant from the National Restaurant Association.

Tavarez said the application process involved completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), writing an essay and getting three letters of recommendation.

“It does take a lot of work, but I finished it, and the association was really nice,” Tavarez said. “The essay, if you like doing what you do, you’ll write brilliantly about it.”

Chef Kayleen Moon, a TSTC Culinary Arts instructor, said that Tavarez absolutely deserved the grant.

“She’s very diligent. She had to go through a few more hoops to get here than most,” Moon said. “She’s very independent and still manages to do well in school. I’m very impressed with her. She worked really hard to get this scholarship.”

Tavarez said the money helped her take a break from work and focus on her studies.

“I was so excited,” Tavarez said. “I knew I wasn’t going to struggle as much. It’s so hard because after a while you’re like, ‘How am I going to do it? I’ll have to work more.’ So I was happy to know that I can take time off work and focus on my school because I know I have that backup money.”

She also used some of the money to help buy supplies for class.

“You think you’re going to be able to use it on yourself, but you use it always for school. I thought, ‘Oh, I’m going to buy myself something nice!’ No,” she laughed. “It really helped me get my books. Our pants and our shoes are done in like three months because we walk so much, and our knives are very expensive, so I used a lot of that money for that.”

After Tavarez graduates in May, she hopes to help her mother grow her business, Rossy’s Cafe, in the Texas Panhandle city of Hereford.

“My mom owns a little business already, and I think I want to expand it,” Tavarez said. “That’s why I came here, to get more of the information on how to actually manage it. I just wanted to take over a little bit because it is stressful owning your own business, very stressful. So I want to co-work with her, and hopefully we can do way more.”

Tavarez said the cafe shows potential.

“It’s a kind of diner place, very chill and relaxed, but there can be way more added to it,” she said. “It’s just hard when you’re trying to pay for what you already have and expand. So hopefully after this I can help Mom make it bigger. I know it can be way bigger than what it is.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College and the Culinary Arts program, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Veterans Receive Another $75,000 Gift from EMA Electromechanics

(SWEETWATER) – EMA Electromechanics donated $75,000 to Texas State Technical College in a check signing ceremony Friday, Oct. 20. The donation brings EMA contributions to TSTC to a total of $150,000.

The gift funds an account called Sweetwater Veteran’s Funds for College Education, which was established in 2015 when EMA gave the first gift of $75,000. Funds will go toward helping veterans complete their technical training at the college’s West Texas campuses in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater.

EMA created the account as a way to honor area veterans.

“We want to give back to them for what they do for us,” said EMA Manager Gabriel Acosta. “The way we see it is that we enjoy freedom in the U.S. because of their efforts.”

Since 2015, 36 veterans have benefited from the Sweetwater Veteran’s Funds for College Education. TSTC currently serves 68 veterans across its four West Texas campuses.

EMA hopes the gift will ease the transition veterans face when returning from service.

“The purpose of this gift is to make sure that they have a chance to go back to civilian life with some help if they need some, to go back and get a career or improve their knowledge,” Acosta said.

Robert Schneider, an Air Force veteran who is an Automotive student at TSTC, was one of the recipients of the scholarship.

“I will forever be grateful for EMA being a helping hand in a time of need,” Schneider said. “I probably speak on behalf of many veterans when I say thank you. Being able to receive help from this company has lifted a lot of burden off of my shoulders at very crucial times.”

EMA was founded in 1952 in Argentina, but in 2010 it expanded to open its Sweetwater location, where it develops and manufactures specialized electromechanical equipment for wind generation.

TSTC Interim Provost Rick Denbow said the college is grateful for EMA and its contribution.

“TSTC is very thankful to EMA Electromechanics’ gift to our veteran students,” said Denbow. “Relationships like these not only strengthen TSTC, but bolster our students and community as well.”

For information on making a difference for TSTC students, visit tstc.edu/tstcfoundation.

 

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TSTC Hosts Women in Technology Day

(WACO) – Sylvia Howard, 14, visited Texas State Technical College for the first time Thursday.
And, she was pleased with what she saw.
“It was good,” said Howard, a freshman Project Link student at La Vega High School. “I learned about computers and how to use them. I enjoyed working with the video games. Definitely, college is in my future.”
Howard was among several Project Link students from La Vega, University and Waco high schools to attend TSTC’s Women in Technology Day. They were among more than 250 females from area high schools seeing firsthand several technical career possibilities, from Avionics Technology to Visual Communication Technology.
“We had a successful event, and this was probably one of the biggest crowds at a Women in Technology Day,” said Angela Evilia, assistant director of TSTC’s Advisement Center and an event organizer.
TSTC faculty members and students gave tours and worked alongside the high school visitors with hands-on demonstrations. In Building Construction Technology, students worked with premade wood carvings and learned tool safety while the visit to Aviation Maintenance consisted of stepping into the cockpit of a parked jet on the flight line at the technical college’s airport.
Skylar Shaw, 17, a senior at Oglesby High School in Coryell and McLennan counties, said she enjoyed seeing the possibilities of nontraditional careers for women. Shaw said she liked her visit to the Electrical Power and Controls program, where she learned about wiring.
“It got me out of my bubble,” she said.
For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.

 

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R.E. Dye Partners with TSTC for $102,285 Job Training Grant

(BRECKENRIDGE) – Texas State Technical College has partnered with R.E. Dye Manufacturing Corporation of Breckenridge to train 51 workers using a $97,568 Skills Development Fund grant. The Breckenridge Economic Development Corporation provided a matching amount of $4,717, bringing the total to $102,285.

 

Dale Robertson, manager of the Office of Employer Initiatives at the Texas Workforce Commission, presented the check to officials from TSTC and R.E. Dye at a 2:30 p.m. ceremony held at TSTC’s Technology Center on Wednesday, Sept. 27.

 

The training was designed specifically to meet R.E. Dye’s needs in two critical areas: efficiency and aircraft manual updates. Training will be provided by TSTC instructors. TSTC has partnered with the West Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center (TMAC) to provide training for specific aircraft manual updates.

 

“This is allowing R.E. Dye to expand their customer base and go out and be able to work with more aircraft manufacturing companies to produce precision equipment for that industry,” said Rick Denbow, interim provost at TSTC in West Texas. “We’re so excited about this. It’s great for Breckenridge, it’s great for TSTC and it’s great for all parties involved.”

 

Robertson said it takes a team to bring an opportunity like this to light.

 

“It doesn’t happen by ourselves,” Robertson said. “It starts with the local folks, West Central Texas Workforce Solutions, Texas State Technical College, economic development partners and of course businesses.”

 

Virgil Moore, executive director of the Breckenridge Economic Development Corporation, said they were glad to contribute.

 

“The Breckenridge EDC is proud to have participated in this,” Moore said. “In addition to the $97,568 grant that comes directly from Texas Workforce Solutions, the Breckenridge EDC also contributed $13,517 to this project.” ($8,800 was provided directly to the TMAC for their training.)

 

Overall, the Skills Development Fund aims to improve whole communities.

 

“You are able to get funding here that helps this community, this business and the businesses around upskill their workers, train them, retain their certifications and increase their skill sets, and that is really the essence of the Skills Development Fund,” Robertson said.

 

Coby Dye, president of R.E. Dye Manufacturing Corporation, said the company is grateful for the opportunity the grant presents.

 

“I’d like to thank the Texas Workforce Commission, Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas, TSTC and the Breckenridge Economic Development Corporation for partnering to make this training possible,” Dye said. “Everyone from these organizations went out of their way to make sure the grant happened in a timely manner to meet our training needs.”

 

The Skills Development Fund is one of the state’s premier job-training programs, keeping Texas competitive with a skilled workforce. For more information on TSTC’s workforce training, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Welcomes Two New Recruiters

(HUTTO) – Texas State Technical College welcomed two new student recruiters this month at its Williamson County campus.
Stephanie Guillory, of Round Rock, and Melissa Zamora, of Hutto, joined the recruitment team at the beginning of September.
Guillory made the move to TSTC after working for Round Rock ISD for 15 years, beginning as a teacher and later working in administration. She and her husband, who is also a teacher, share a passion for education.
“I want to help students reach their highest potential. My husband and I were raised in two different households. My husband is one of 19, and I’m an only child. For myself, being raised by a single mom, it was a big deal to get an education and have a successful career. It was ingrained in me early, but my husband didn’t have that. He was encouraged more by his teachers.”
Guillory became interested in joining higher education by listening to recruiters at college nights with her students.
“I wanted a career change, but I still wanted to be in higher education,” she said. “The recruiters piqued my interest.”
So far, Guillory is enjoying the position and is eager to tell students about TSTC.
“I’m excited about being able to go to schools and tell them about TSTC and what we have to offer. I’ve been in the classroom for so long and all they’ve promoted are the four-year colleges, not a trade or another option for post-high school. I’m excited to get the word out.”
Zamora is a four-year TSTC veteran who moved to Hutto from TSTC’s Harlingen campus. She is excited to see the campus grow.
“I know what TSTC has to offer, so I’m excited about spreading that across the state,” she said. “I love the transparency of the Williamson County campus. We can view so much — our labs and facilities — while we’re giving our tours.”
Zamora has also enjoyed the campus faculty and staff.
“Everybody has been so welcoming,” she said. “It feels like a very strong TSTC community.”
As a TSTC graduate herself, Zamora wanted to help students navigate their college years.
“I was kind of clueless as a student, and I think that’s what made me want to help others,” she said. “I’m a first-generation college student and I’m the youngest in my family. For me it’s like, ‘how can I help someone that was me?'”
Her favorite thing about TSTC is its job placement record.
“We put our money where our mouth is,” she said. “I feel like we’re on the cusp of changing education. We’re about change and we’re about results.”
TSTC Provost Edgar Padilla was happy to welcome the two to the team.
“It’s exciting to see great talent joining our Williamson County team,” he said. “Melissa brings a wealth of knowledge and institutional experience from her previous role in Harlingen and will immediately contribute to our success. Stephanie is a longtime educator with Round Rock ISD and understands the evolving nature of secondary education. Her expertise will go a long way in bolstering our recruitment efforts. We are very pleased to welcome them both to our phenomenal team!”
TSTC touts itself as being “a great place to work” and is currently hiring for positions at its 10 campuses statewide. For information on open positions at TSTC, visit tstc.edu/about/employment.