Category Archives: West Texas

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.

For more information on employment at Texas State Technical College, go to


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.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to


TSTC Names Rick Denbow Provost

(WEST TEXAS) – Texas State Technical College has named Rick Denbow as the Provost over its four West Texas campuses. Denbow served as Interim Provost for the campuses since May.

Along with functioning as Interim Provost, Denbow was also the Senior Field Development Officer for The TSTC Foundation, an instrumental role in supporting the efforts of TSTC’s new technology center in Abilene. Denbow began working for TSTC in 2009 as the director of the Welding and Transportation Technology Division.

Denbow said he is honored to have been selected.

“It’s a lot of responsibility, but I’m very excited also,” he said. “In my tenure with TSTC, I’ve spent my time in West Texas working with the four campuses and I’ve come to know the programs and the faculty and staff. I’m really excited about going forward. Some of the things the college has done, like the most recent reorganization, have really positioned us to be successful.”

The West Texas community is one of Denbow’s favorite things about his job.

“The communities at each of the four locations are very supportive of TSTC and what we’re trying to do, and that makes our job a little bit easier,” he said. “Also, the faculty and staff are just awesome. They’re always willing to go that extra mile and I’m honored to be able to work with them.”

Denbow has lofty goals for TSTC in West Texas.

“As the Chancellor stated in an email to employees a few weeks back, there’s one word and that’s growth,” Denbow said. “That can have different meanings depending on the campus. Is it growing enrollment? Is it growing capacity? Is it growing placement? I would submit it’s all of the above. Each campus in West Texas is unique and one of my goals is to make sure we grow at each of our four campuses.”

TSTC Vice Chancellor & Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Kilgore said he is excited to welcome Denbow in the role.

“Through his experiences, Rick has a really good sense of the communities and needs of industry in the West Texas Region,” Kilgore said.

Denbow graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from University of Texas at Austin.

“I come from the business world,” Denbow said. “With Chancellor Reeser’s focus on making TSTC a little more entrepreneurial, a little more business-like, that fits very well with my background. I think I can add value to the West Texas campuses in the provost role.”

Denbow added that TSTC’s new Industrial Technology Center in Abilene is ahead of the construction schedule. They hope to start moving employees in on Aug. 1, and classes will begin in the building in the fall. Denbow says the campus signifies a new beginning for TSTC in Abilene.

“That campus, the design and how it’s laid out, the Abilene community has never seen anything like that from TSTC,” he said. “The Abilene campus has been housed in an old hospital and we didn’t really have an opportunity to put any heavy equipment and industrial trades in there. This is a new start.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, visit

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.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to


TSTC to host annual counselor update

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College will host its annual Counselor Update and Luncheon from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27.

Nearly 45 high school employees from Regions 9 and 14 and the surrounding areas are expected at the event.

Marina Wilcox, TSTC vice president of dual enrollment, will speak about the importance of two Texas house bills: one that impacts the way high school students choose courses with a career goal in mind and another that requires high schools to improve student performance.

“We are educating them on House Bills 5 and 22 and how TSTC can meet their needs in being successful,” said TSTC dual enrollment advisor Amy Freeman.

TSTC representatives will also cover new forms and changes in the admissions process and general business for the 2018-19 academic year.

“Dual enrollment has gone through some major changes,” Freeman said. “We’ll update them on these new processes and how we can help make the transition easier for them.”

Freeman said the event is beneficial for counselors to attend

“We are covering a lot of information that is relevant for them — not just on TSTC’s end, but also for the state of Texas and its goals. We’ll educate them on what they can do to help students graduate high school with a certificate so they can go out and get jobs.”

Last month, TSTC announced new, fully online pathways in Cyber Security, Digital Media Design and Medical Office Specialist. Health Information Technology was the first program to go completely online. Many of the high schools participating in dual enrollment opted for these degree plans.

“With the distances that West Texas dual enrollment covers, I will say the majority of our schools are participating in fully online programs,” Freeman said. “We’re anticipating additional schools to partner with us in online programs for the 2018-19 academic year.”

TSTC will open its newest Abilene campus in the fall, bringing the addition of three new programs: Electrical Power & Controls, Industrial Maintenance Technology and Welding Technology.

“Each of those programs will have a dual enrollment pathway available for local students,” Freeman said. “We hope that students from AISD, Jim Ned, Clyde and Hawley will be interested in coming to the new campus.”

For more information on TSTC and its dual enrollment program, visit

TSTC to Host Open House at Breckenridge Campus

(BRECKENRIDGE) – Texas State Technical College in Breckenridge will hold its annual Open House from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, March 2. This event is designed for prospective students who want to learn more about the college, but it is also open to their parents, families and friends.

Visitors can tour the campus and speak with instructors about the programs offered, including Chemical Dependency Counseling, Environmental Technology, Vocational Nursing and Welding.

Faculty from the Business Management Technology (Brownwood), Culinary Arts (Abilene), Wind Energy Technology (Sweetwater) and Health Information Technology (online) programs will be available to meet with students and answer questions about their programs.

Students will also be able to meet with Admissions, Financial Aid, Student Support Services, Veteran Services and success coaches, among others, to help guide them through the college enrollment process.

The college expects over 400 students from the local area to visit.

Interested persons should register online at For more information, call 940-447-7714.

TSTC welcomes new recruiter

(BROWNWOOD) – Texas State Technical College in Brownwood welcomed a new recruiter, Laura White, earlier this month.


White was born in Bogota, Colombia, and raised in Florida. She currently lives in Abilene. White and her husband moved to the area when he was stationed at Dyess Air Force Base.


“I used to work for Bank of America merchant services,” White said. “I loved it. I worked there for a little over a year, and then we got orders to move to Abilene.”


White said she wanted to work at TSTC after hearing about it around town.


“I hear a lot of people in the community always saying how much they love TSTC,” she said. “There are just so many great things they say about TSTC. I also have friends who attend as students in the nursing program in Sweetwater. I’ve just always had it in mind that TSTC was a great place. So I went to the website and saw a job opportunity, and here I am.”


So far, her favorite part is working one-on-one with the students.


“TSTC as a whole focuses on making sure we walk the students step by step through the process,” she said. “If there is any additional help they need, we’re always there and that’s awesome. It’s customer service to a T.”


White has always prided herself in the customer service she offers.


“I relate to that because that’s how I am in any job I’ve ever had,” she said. “I really loved coming into that atmosphere and joining people that are willing to go above and beyond for the students. I love that culture, and that’s what it is — it’s a culture within TSTC.”


TSTC is currently hiring for positions at its 10 campuses statewide. For information on open positions at TSTC, visit

Local TSTC talent competition canceled

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College and “Texas Music Cafe” have canceled the regional Talent Search competition originally scheduled to take place on February 27 on TSTC’s Abilene campus.

The decision was made after only one student signed up to perform. Texas Music Café will transport that contestant to Waco to record her performance, and she will be invited to perform on behalf of West Texas at the finals in Waco on Tuesday, March 20.

The grand prize is a $2,500 recording contract and a chance to perform in a live taping of “Texas Music Cafe.” Runners-up can receive recording gear, a single recording package or a ukulele package.

“Texas Music Cafe” is an hourlong, magazine-style PBS program that is recorded all over the state of Texas in front of live audiences and broadcast nationally on radio, TV and the internet.

TSTC to Host Annual Talent Competition

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College and “Texas Music Cafe” will host the third annual TSTC Talent Search from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at TSTC Student Central in Abilene.

TSTC student contestants will perform as soloists, musicians or groups, and the performances will be posted to YouTube, where the winner will be chosen based on the number of likes on their video.

Holly Tucker (runner-up on NBC’s “The Voice”) will host the competition, which is taking place at TSTC’s four legacy campuses: Harlingen, Marshall, Waco and West Texas. The winner from each location will compete in the finals on Tuesday, March 20, in Waco.

Belinda Palomino, TSTC’s coordinator of Student Life and Engagement, said the event should be fun for those attending.

“Holly Tucker will be there, hosting and performing,” Palomino said. “There will be music and food, so dinner will be provided for anyone attending.”

There is no admission charge to attend.

“I’m just happy I’m not a judge,” Palomino laughed. “The competition is very hard each year because the students are so talented.”

The grand prize is a $2,500 recording contract and a chance to perform in a live taping of “Texas Music Cafe.” Runner-up contestants can receive recording gear, a single recording package or a ukulele package.

“Texas Music Cafe” is an hourlong, magazine-style PBS program that is recorded all over the state of Texas in front of live audiences and broadcast nationally on radio, TV and the internet.

Contestants must be currently enrolled as a full- or part-time student at any TSTC location. For more information, visit

Annual TSTC Open House a Success

(BROWNWOOD) – Texas State Technical College in Brownwood held its annual open house Friday, opening its campus for tours and to meet with faculty. The event, designed for prospective students who want to learn more about the college, hosted han 50 visitors.


Jeannette Gist, TSTC director of Student Recruitment in West Texas, said they changed some things around this year and it was a success.


“This year we moved everything up and had it a little more condensed,” Gist said. “I wasn’t sure how that would flow, but I love it. I think it’s so fun. People walk right into the party instead of having to walk down the hall to find the party.”


Six people applied after visiting with employees.


“We have people who are genuinely interested in TSTC,” said Devin Crenshaw, TSTC outreach representative. “That many applicants isn’t common for this type of event.  We’ve also had a lot of people who have already applied and also want to go to the open house in Sweetwater.”


Gist said all of the programs saw traffic.


“I saw people at every station,” she said. “I think everybody had visitors today. Sometimes everyone is there to see one program, but there was a good mix. The more hands-on our programs can be, the better it is for the prospective student and also the faculty because it draws students. It’s a richer experience for both.”


Programs such as Diesel Equipment Technology and Environmental Science from TSTC’s other West Texas campuses also met with students at the event. Visitors also got to learn about Electrical Power & Controls, Industrial Maintenance Technology and Welding Technology, which will begin in Abilene in the fall with the opening of TSTC’s new Industrial Technology Center.


TSTC will hold open houses from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its campuses in Breckenridge and Sweetwater on March 2 and March 23, respectively.


For more information on open houses, visit To learn more about the college and its programs, visit