Category Archives: Waco

U.S. Senator announces legislation to benefit TSTC

(ROSENBERG) – United States Senator Ted Cruz toured Texas State Technical College recently after announcing new legislation that will benefit students who pursue a technical education.

“To keep up with the rest of the world and be competitive we need to continue growing the skilled workforce we need to keep our economy moving forward,” said Cruz. “And this bill, at the Senator Ted Cruz tours TSTC in Fort Bend Countyend of the day, will match people with their passion and work for the state and its industries.”

Cruz introduced the special legislation cited as the “Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act” to TSTC leadership and Fort Bend County industry leaders.

The act establishes tax credits to encourage individual and corporate taxpayers to make scholarship contributions to workforce training organizations, like TSTC.

Contributions can provide students with scholarships for secondary or postsecondary vocational education and training, including preparation and examination costs relating to certificates or credentials, or industry recognized certification or credentialing programs.

Chancellor Mike Reeser said 60 percent of the jobs in Texas require some kind of education beyond high school and half of those require only a certificate or two-year degree like the ones offered at TSTC.

“The beauty of hosting you (Cruz) today is the great impact this new bill can have for these students seeking these opportunities,” said Reeser. “A lot of families struggle to pay for college and having the opportunity to increase the amounts of scholarships for families is absolutely crucial to us expanding the availability of a skilled workforce.”  

After the announcement, Cruz toured the campus and visited technical programs – Electrical Lineworker Technology, Diesel Equipment Technology and Robotics Technology –  in the Industrial Technology Center and Brazos Center.TSTC welcomes Senator Ted Cruz

University.com ranks TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program as best in the state.

He spoke one-on-one with program instructors and students during the tour to get an inside look into the type of skills training TSTC is providing.

TSTC, a leader in technical education statewide, offers more than 60 technical programs of study. And because of its legislative mission, the college has focused its resources and efforts on technical education and emerging technology, and filling the skills gap that exists statewide.

“TSTC is doing a great job at training students to ensure that they can support their families and stand on their own,” said Cruz. “Walking through campus and hearing that employers are knocking on their doors asking for graduates and that they’re earning high-earning careers is impressive.”

After the tour, Cruz sat down with TSTC leadership, TSTC Robotics Technology student Joshua Schott, Electrical Lineworker Technology student Isaac Hughes, and industry leaders such as ExxonMobil, Schlumberger, CenterPoint Energy, Houston Area Safety Council and the George Foundation for a roundtable.

Cruz praised TSTC for the training the college is providing industry in the region. TSTC currently serves more than 500 students, but is expected to grow enrollment to 5,000 within the next decade.  

Cruz also thanked TSTC for giving men and women the critical skills needed to achieve successful careers and expanding educational opportunities for Texas and its residents.

“I’m a fan of technical education and if this legislation is passed this could truly be transformational,” said Cruz. “And it will take time to pass, but once we build a broader coalition and support, this bill it will be a win-win for everyone.”

TSTC in Williamson County Employees Recognized With Statewide Award

(HUTTO) – Three employees at Texas State Technical College in Williamson County have been honored for their work and skills.

George Fields, an Industrial Electrical Systems instructor; Abigail Flores, an enrollment coach and Michael Smith, an associate field development officer for The TSTC Foundation, have received Chancellor’s Excellence Awards.

The Chancellor’s Excellence Award began in 2001 and has been given to more than 300 TSTC employees statewide. Recipients are nominated by their peers for their work toward advancing the technical college’s mission.

“The teammates who win this award model excellence for us all and are recognized for both their sound character and for advancing TSTC’s new direction,” said TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser. “Due to their caring and dedicated efforts, TSTC continues to make a difference in the employment success of our students.”  

Fields has been at TSTC for seven years.

“I am motivated by students from diverse demographics who want to become skilled in the trades,” he said. “I am continually being exposed to new trends in my field and thus to new learning and teaching opportunities.”

Flores works with TSTC students from enrollment until they graduate.

“What motivates me is knowing that we are helping our students improve their future,” she said.

Flores worked for 10 years at TSTC in Harlingen before moving in 2017 to TSTC in Williamson County.

She is a graduate of TSTC’s Business Office Technology program.

Smith’s job is to build long-term and sustainable relationships for the campus and increase The TSTC Foundation’s ability to provide financial assistance to students.

“I embrace the concept of meeting companies and donors where they are, and that can mean starting early in the morning or ending late in the evening,” he said. “Some days I’m in a three-piece suit, and others I’m in blue jeans and an apron preparing lunch to say ‘thank you’ to one of our partners.”

Smith has worked for three years at TSTC.

“Being a smaller campus, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know each of the members on our campus and appreciate not just their hard work, but their friendship.”

Fields, Flores and Smith will join 32 other TSTC employees statewide who will be honored at the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development’s Excellence Awards Dinner and Celebration in May in Austin.

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

TWIC Recognizes Five TSTC Technical Programs

(WACO) – Five technical programs at Texas State Technical College were recently recognized by the Office of the Governor’s Texas Workforce Investment Council at a ceremony in Austin.

Associate of Applied Science degree programs for Biomedical Equipment Technology, Electrical Lineworker Technology, Process Operations, Solar Energy Technology and Wind Energy Technology were recognized for merging industry-defined skills standards into hands-on learning.

“Being recognized by the TWIC is the culmination of hard work and dedication of the program leads and instructors,” said Tony Abad, a member of TSTC’s Board of Regents. “The best part is that the students are the real winners.”

With TSTC students learning the skills standards, the programs are meeting the needs of state employers in creating a competitive workforce, according to the TWIC.

Mark Plough, TSTC’s statewide department chair for Biomedical Equipment Technology for the Harlingen and Waco campuses, said it was easy to include the standards in the curriculum.

“Since we have the equipment and the instructors with the background of field experience, I think that helps us a lot,” he said.

Plough said the caliber of students coming into the program is improving.

“The students are more motivated,” he said. “We are able to place our graduates. Our program is recognized as one of the top programs in the country for two-year technical and community college-type programs.”

Eric Carithers, TSTC’s statewide department chair for Electrical Lineworker Technology for the Fort Bend County, Marshall and Waco campuses, credited the Texas Workforce Commission for using industry data to define key skills needed to be successful in technical occupations.

“Being recognized by the TWIC ensures that our students are being taught the most up-to-date and relevant skills in their pathway to the workforce,” Carithers said. “This is a large part of what makes our students from these programs elite to our industry partners.”

Other TSTC programs receiving the recognition are the Process Operations program in Marshall, the Solar Energy Technology program in Waco and the Wind Energy Technology program in Harlingen and Sweetwater.

“With this recognition, students have a state of Texas golden seal on their certificates of completion,” Carithers said. “With this seal, it is stating that our programs are being backed by the governor of Texas. What a wonderful thing to be able to tell a prospective student. Not many people can put that type of credential on their resume.”

Only 23 Texas colleges offer programs with the industry-defined skills standards designation, according to the TWIC.

The TWIC promotes the development of a highly-skilled, well-educated workforce and meets the needs of Texas businesses of all sizes. The TWIC carries out these mandates through strategic planning, reviewing local and state workforce plans and maintaining the Texas Skills Standards system.

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

TSTC Career Services Hosts Mock Interview Sessions for Students

(RED OAK) – More than 20 Texas State Technical College in North Texas students had the opportunity Wednesday morning to sit down with area industry representatives to practice interview skills.

TSTC’s Career Services department hosted mock interviews for the first time for students to learn their strengths and weaknesses. Students had three timed sessions with recruiting and human resources workers from area companies.

“It did what it intended to do,” said Frank Green, a corporate recruiter at Bell Helicopter in Fort Worth, who was one of the interviewers. “It gave them interview experience and feedback that they would not (otherwise) get.”

Green said he noticed the Industrial Maintenance and Welding Technology students he spoke to had good eye contact and were engaged throughout their interviews. But, he said some students need to work on general interview preparation, like having a resume to present and  not chewing gum.

“They all had individual qualities,” Green said.

Doug Sturdivant, human resources manager at Facility Solutions Group in Dallas, said the interview simulations were beneficial to help students get ready for the job market upon graduation.

“With the three students I saw, their attitudes were good,” Sturdivant said. “They were nervous. Most of them were willing to communicate.”

TSTC Industrial Maintenance major Karlos Alfaro of Terrell said he learned to work on his posture and focus more on eye contact.

One of Alfaro’s classmates in Industrial Maintenance, Alex McDonald of Waxahachie, said he was nervous at first but became comfortable as the morning went on.

“I need to elaborate on my answers and sell myself more,” McDonald said. “I need to ask more questions.”

Fagen Jones, a TSTC Career Services coordinator, said she wants to organize interview simulations each spring and fall.

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

TSTC Industrial Maintenance Students Needed to Fill North Texas Jobs

(RED OAK) – Students who pursue industrial maintenance careers play a critical role in keeping their workplaces operational.

“I feel like a student that will do well will be curious in nature and want to learn,” said John Walker, an instructor in Texas State Technical College in North Texas’ Industrial Maintenance program.

Walker said the program’s students make up three groups: traditional ones just out of high school, those studying to get promotions, and workers already in the field wanting to improve their skills.

“For us in this area, a lot of the companies have gone from wanting mechanical to electrical to wanting people who are multicraft or considered technicians,” Walker said. “With those job changes, they are looking for one person that can fit two roles and reduce some of their labor costs. The market for the electrical specialization is ridiculously good right now.”

Joe Razza, a regional recruiter for Crown Lift Trucks in Arlington, said many of the learned industrial maintenance skills can be used in manufacturing forklifts. Employees undergo company training once hired.

“We have to look for the best candidates possible,” Razza said. “There is no forklift school.”

Jonathan Williamson, human resources talent lead at Owens Corning in Waxahachie, said the company hires for industrial mechanic and electrical specialist positions.

“Our ideal candidate would be somebody with a journeyman certification through an apprenticeship program or a two-year degree and ideally five years of experience on the job,” he said. “That is really hard to get. If we could snap our fingers and find candidates like that, we would be tickled pink.”

Williamson said employees starting out in electrical and mechanical tasks at the company working a 40-hour week could have a base pay in the $60,000 range with overtime opportunities.

“You just have so much earning potential than a lot of other careers,” Williamson said. “We have mechanics and electricians making six figures each year because they work the extra hours.”

A lot of the jobs graduates can pursue in the field only require an associate degree.

Electrical and electronics engineering technicians had an annual mean wage of more than $67,000 in Texas in May 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Technicians are needed in computer design, natural gas distribution, petroleum manufacturing and other industries.

Electromechanical technicians can work in the aerospace, energy, piping and semiconductor industries, according to the agency. The annual mean wage for electromechanical technicians in Texas was more than $57,000 in May 2018, according to the agency.

Students attending TSTC in North Texas can pursue the Associate of Applied Science degree in Industrial Maintenance with an Electrical Specialization, or a certificate in Industrial Maintenance Mechanic-Electrical. Some of the classes students take include Basic Electrical Theory, Commercial Wiring, Machinery Installation and Programmable Logic Controllers.

Students have opportunities to get apprenticeships as early as their second semester, Walker said.

“The student now has income coming in, and it’s generally in the field they are going into,” he said. “The company wins because …  they have somebody to bring up and grow in-house.”

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

 

TSTC development officer, local leader earns prestigious award

(FORT BEND) – Field Development Officer John Kennedy, who has been with Texas State Technical College since the expansion in Fort Bend County in 2014, has recently been named a Chancellor’s Excellence Award recipient.

The Sugar Land native has worked diligently with TSTC donors to raise funds for scholarships, has collaborated with local industry partners and has served as an ambassador throughout the community for TSTC.

“I never expected this,” he said. “There are scores of people who I know deserve this award, so I am humbled.”

Kennedy was nominated by his peers, provost and vice chancellor and chosen among 160 faculty and staff members nominated for his distinguished service and dedication to the college, community and the state.John Kennedy

“The teammates who win this award model excellence for us all and are recognized for both their sound character and for advancing TSTC’s new direction,” said TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser. “Due to their caring and dedicated efforts, TSTC continues to make a difference in the employment success of our students.”

For nearly two decades, the Chancellor’s Excellence Award has celebrated employees who exhibit TSTC’s core values of Excellence, Accountability, Service and Integrity.

Coming from a long-time career in the hospitality industry and tasked with the mission of expanding TSTC in Fort Bend County, Kennedy realized his favorite part of the job immediately: giving someone the chance at a better life.

“Everyone at TSTC shares a unique opportunity; and that is to give the people in our community an education and a skill that will change their life,” said Kennedy. “There is nothing like seeing our students with their families at commencement. It’s moving and motivating.”

Kennedy said his goal is to continue increasing engagement and interest in TSTC statewide, so that students can continue to have scholarship opportunities.

“Many of our students rely on these scholarships,” he said. “For many, this is a game changer.”

TSTC’s Vice President of Development Pete Rowe has worked with Kennedy for almost five years. In fact, it was Rowe who invited him to join the team.

“As soon as you meet Kennedy you can feel his confidence and see his intelligence. We have a tremendous respect for John,” said Rowe. “I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the Chancellor’s Award than John. His passion for the college and its students is what drives his work and his success. He always puts TSTC and helping others first.”

In addition to serving his community through education, Kennedy also serves the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston as an ordained deacon at St. Theresa Catholic Church in Sugar Land.

“I enjoy the possibility of helping people and making a difference in their lives,” said Kennedy. “My passion is serving and I carry that over to TSTC and I want to thank those who nominated me and see this. I hope to be able to continue fulfilling expectations now and in the future.”

TSTC in North Texas Employees Recognized With Statewide Award

(RED OAK) – Two employees at Texas State Technical College in North Texas have been honored for their work and skills.

Thomas Betik, a building maintenance supervisor, and Leslie Monk, an Industrial Maintenance instructor, are recipients of the Chancellor’s Excellence Award.

The Chancellor’s Excellence Award began in 2001 and has been given to more than 300 TSTC employees statewide. Recipients are nominated by their peers for their work toward advancing the technical college’s mission.

“The teammates who win this award model excellence for us all and are recognized for both their sound character and for advancing TSTC’s new direction,” said TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser. “Due to their caring and dedicated efforts, TSTC continues to make a difference in the employment success of our students.”  

Betik began work at TSTC in 2017 and is the first in his position on campus. Since he is the only building maintenance supervisor there, he deals with most building-related problems that arise. Betik said faculty members also offer their expertise in some situations.

“I was in disbelief,” he said about the award. “To me, to get it in that short period of time was amazing.”

Betik grew up in Ennis and graduated in 1983 from Ennis High School. He graduated in 1987 from TSTC in Waco with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Plant Engineering.

“I come from a farming background and picked up a lot of maintenance and plumbing skills around the farm and made a career out of it,” Betik said.

TSTC in North Texas Provost Marcus Balch called Betik a tireless worker the campus is fortunate to have.

“He is very well respected and liked by the employees,” Balch said.

Monk was hired four years ago as the first instructor for the Industrial Maintenance program at TSTC in North Texas. The Waxahachie resident calls it his favorite job.

“Surprised was an understatement,” he said upon learning about the award. “I read the email three times. It was astonishing and not expected at all.”

Monk said he enjoys teaching because it is a way to share the knowledge he learned from his relatives who were electricians.

“I teach nights with students in the field who want to promote up,” he said. “I get to work with a lot of experienced people.”

Monk grew up in Grand Prairie and has a general education development certificate. He is a 2015 graduate of Cedar Valley College, where he studied interdisciplinary studies.

He joined the United States Navy at 18 and was an electrician in the the U.S. Naval Construction Battalions. While in the military, Monk was deployed to Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, as well as to Afghanistan and Iraq.

Balch said Monk is quiet, but a hard worker.

“He has been a trouper for us,” the provost said. “He has helped grow our cohort for Industrial Maintenance at night. He has stepped in to teach Electrical Power and Controls classes in the past.”

Betik and Monk will join 33 other TSTC employees statewide who will be honored at the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development’s Excellence Awards Dinner in May in Austin.

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

 

Vargas announced as a recipient of the TSTC Chancellor Excellence Award

(FORT BEND) – Christina Vargas is the Assistant Director of Enrollment Management for Texas State Technical College in Fort Bend County and has added Chancellor’s Excellence Award recipient to her title.

“I was overwhelmed and humbled when I found out about this recognition,” said Vargas. “I know so many hard workers that I look up to and I know are deserving. So this was an unexpected honor.”

The Chancellor’s Excellence Award has celebrated employees who exhibit TSTC’s core values of Excellence, Accountability, Service and Integrity for the last 19 years.

TSTC employees are nominated by their peers, provosts and vice chancellors and are chosen for their distinguished service and dedication to the college, communities and their state for this award.Christina Vargas

“The teammates who win this award model excellence for us all and are recognized for both their sound character and for advancing TSTC’s new direction,” said TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser. “Due to their caring and dedicated efforts, TSTC continues to make a difference in the employment success of our students.”

Vargas was selected among 160 faculty and staff members who were nominated and is one of 35 recipients statewide.

It’s been two years since Vargas first arrived at TSTC, and as a Rosenberg native she said she is happy to be home.

“It feels great to be serving the community where I grew up with education,” she said. “Being back here has brought back so many great memories.”

Although Vargas has an hour to an hour-and-a-half drive every day from Victoria, where her and her family reside, she said it’s worth it because she gets to change lives for the better.

“Helping students find success is my favorite thing,” said Vargas. “Especially when they thought college was out of reach for them. And seeing them put on that cap and gown is the cherry on top.”

Vargas has been serving students in various capacities for more than 2 decades. She came to TSTC with extensive experience in teaching for both public and private school, and with student services experience from Victoria College and University of Houston-Victoria, both of which she also attended as a student.

“I look forward to growing with the campus,” said Vargas. “I have a great team that inspires, encourages and motivated each other and our students, and TSTC cares not only about their students’ success, but also about their faculty and staff growing. This is what makes TSTC a great place to work.”

Vargas said TSTC overall has won her family over because even her son is part of the TSTC family as a student in Environmental Compliance Technology.

“TSTC is changing lives every day, including ours,” said Vargas. “It’s great to be a part of something big like this and I’m honored that someone, somewhere feels that work I am doing is invaluable and worthy. The Chancellor’s Excellence Award is a validation and great honor.”

Vargas will be honored in May at the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Awards dinner and celebration in Austin where, she and the other Chancellor’s Award recipients, will receive their awards.

Georgetown Company Donates Equipment to TSTC

(HUTTO)  – Texas State Technical College recently received an in-kind equipment donation from a Georgetown company.

Trendsetter Electronics gave capacitors valued at more than $19,800 to the Williamson County campus in Hutto. Capacitors are two-terminal electrical components that store energy used in circuits.

“You have a great school, and it is our honor to be a small part of enriching the lives of TSTC students and our community,” said Lori Rutterford, the company’s data integrity manager.

Michael Smith, an associate field development officer for The TSTC Foundation, said the equipment can be used in programs that deal with electricity, like Biomedical Equipment Technology, Instrumentation Technology, and Electrical Power and Controls.

“They have been a great partner, and you will see a lot of developments out of Georgetown,” Smith said.

Trendsetter Electronics previously donated electronic components in 2018 to TSTC. The company distributes active, electro-mechanical, interconnect and passive electronic parts for the oil and gas industry and the instrumentation field.

“TSTC is proud to count on industry to hire our students and advise our curriculum,” said TSTC in Williamson County Provost Edgar Padilla. “Many of these partners also go above and beyond in supporting our mission and donate equipment, scholarship funds and other in-kind gifts to ensure that our mission of training Texans is successful. It’s a testament to TSTC’s reputation among our industry partners, and we’re very appreciative of the recent donation from Trendsetter.”

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

TSTC Aircraft Pilot Students in Demand to Fill Jobs

(WACO) – Students in the Aircraft Pilot Training Technology program at Texas State Technical College are seeing an array of job options once they graduate.

“There aren’t enough pilots being trained to meet the need,” said Trey Cade, director of Baylor University’s Institute for Air Science, which partners with TSTC in pilot training. “Airlines need to be flying more routes and need more airplanes.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for airline and commercial pilots are expected to increase by 4 percent through 2026.

“The demand is everywhere, specifically at the regional level. Everyone is fighting each other for the ability to get you, the pilot, to come to one of us,” said Marie Didonna, a cadet manager for Envoy Air Inc. “It’s kind of like the buyer’s market for housing; it’s the pilot’s market for a job.”

Although traditionally a male-dominated field, the aviation industry is seeing an increase in female pilots.

“Our female cadet numbers are going up,” Didonna said. “Those interests are really taking off, and it’s easier to spread the word when you can say, ‘Look, these are female pilots.’”

According to the Federal Aviation Administration’s 2018 Active Civil Airmen Statistics report, there were more than 46,400 female pilots in 2018 compared to around 39,600 in 2013.

“It’s great to see a little girl look up at you and say, ‘That’s amazing; I didn’t know I could be a pilot,’” Didonna said.

TSTC’s Aircraft Pilot Training Technology students take classes and do all flight training at the campus airport. Baylor students do coursework at their home campus and flight training at TSTC.

“I would definitely recommend the program to anyone who is seriously interested in becoming a pilot,” said Noelle Smith, an Aviation Sciences major at Baylor from Fort Worth doing pilot training at TSTC. “They get you in the plane first semester. You’re immersed in it to make sure you like it.”

Aviation students from both institutions are given helpful perks to help jump-start their careers. TSTC offers a Part 141 training program that enables Baylor graduates to receive a 500-hour reduction from the required 1,500 flight training hours. TSTC students who graduate with an associate degree receive a 250-hour reduction.

“The 141 program here at TSTC is very professional,” said Andrew Dolan, a TSTC flight instructor and Baylor aviation alumnus. “You really get the good training you need here to excel and advance further in the industry.”

The annual mean wage for commercial pilots in Texas as of May 2017 was more than $105,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

TSTC has the largest airport in the United States operated by an educational institution and includes a dual runway operational control tower.

“I like how it [the program] is structured,” said Alejandro Ledesma, a TSTC Aircraft Pilot Training Technology major from Dallas. “They don’t just make pilots, they make quality pilots. I’m not trying to be another average pilot.”

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