Category Archives: Fort Bend County

TSTC’s newest campus sends first SkillsUSA competitor to nationals

(FORT BEND) – Texas State Technical College Diesel Equipment Technology student Troy Ketchum will be graduating in the coming months, but not before travelling to Louisville, Kentucky as the first student from TSTC in Fort Bend County to compete at the 54th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference.

“You can feel the excitement around campus building up about my travel to the upcoming event,” said the 30-year-old. “I hope I can make everyone proud.”

At the end of the month, the Rosenberg native will compete against thousands of other students from across the United States in hopes of bringing home a gold medal in his category: Job Skills Presentation.

SkillsUSA is a professional organization teaching technical, academic and employability skills that help high school and college students pursue successful careers. Members build these skills through student-led team meetings, hands-on competitions, leadership conferences and other activities.

TSTC in Fort Bend County Provost Randy Wooten said that the entire college benefits from having students like Ketchum compete in these events.  Troy Ketchum

“The student body knows that they are being represented at these events and they are big supporters of Troy,” said Wooten. “All of us here are thrilled by having our first competitor at the SkillsUSA national level.”

Wooten also said that he has been involved in Ketchum’s dry-run presentations and practices since before the state competition and he knew immediately that he would be hard to beat.

“It’s obvious that Troy has what it takes to win. He’s a strong contender,” said Wooten. “And having our college represented in Kentucky means that even though we’re the newest and one of the smallest right now, we can run with the big dogs.”

The United States Navy veteran has been preparing his presentation, “The Importance of Proper Tread Depth and Safety of Truck Tires,” and his delivery non-stop for this competition.

Ketchum has taken two days out of the week since the beginning of the year to present in front of students, faculty and staff at the campus.

“I practice in front of anyone who is willing to listen,” said Ketchum. “And I welcome all feedback.”

Spencer Paige, lead instructor for Diesel Equipment Technology and SkillsUSA advisor, said Ketchum has told him that he even practices while driving, at work and at home in front his brother or a mirror.

“He has put in so much work and effort into SkillsUSA. We are proud him,” said Paige. “We are positive that he will do well and represent TSTC positively.

Paige added, “The fact that this is our campus’ first SkillsUSA chapter and we’re headed to nationals is remarkable and we hope that more students join us next year. This is a great organization that teaches lessons and skills that stay with you forever.”

Ketchum, who is also looking forward to graduating in August said that the skills he has learned in class and by competing in SkillsUSA have prepared him for a job in his field and for what he calls a leap from waiting tables full time.

“As soon as I return from SkillsUSA I’ll start on job applications. I feel so accomplished and excited entering this next phase in my life,” he said. “But first, I want to bring home the gold for TSTC and Fort Bend County.”

Ketchum and at least 50 other TSTC students statewide will be competing at the week-long event, June 25-29.

TSTC swears in new Board of Regents members

(FORT BEND) – Administration officials at Texas State Technical College welcomed two new regents to the TSTC family during a dinner and special meeting of its Board of Regents at the college’s Fort Bend County campus in Rosenberg last week.

The two new regents, Charles “Pat” McDonald of Richmond and Tiffany Tremont of New Braunfels, were sworn in after being appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott in February for terms ending in February 2023.TSTC Regents Swearing In

TSTC Board of Regents Chairman John K. Hatchel of Woodway was also reappointed by the governor; he was first appointed to the board in September 2011.

“TSTC is a great college that does great things,” said McDonald. “I’m honored to be part of the work they’re already doing, and my goal is to work closely with the board members in getting the legislative funding we need.”

TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser described McDonald as an asset to the board.

“Mr. McDonald’s extensive professional experience in the not-for-profit sector and in economic development will be a great resource for the Board of Regents,” said Reeser. “We’re especially honored to have representation from Fort Bend County, which is home to our newest TSTC campus.”

McDonald, who holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Texas A&M University, serves as president and chief executive officer of the Henderson-Wessendorff Foundation. He is also a member of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, director of the Morton Cemetery Association and the Winston Foundation, and is a former trustee and chair of the George Foundation.

Tremont, who is founder, president and CEO of Silotech Group Inc., said she is excited about her new appointment.

“I’m honored to have been trusted by the governor’s office for this appointment,” said Tremont, a service-disabled veteran of the U.S. Air Force. “My goal is to grow the number of women who pursue cybersecurity and science, technology, engineering and mathematics educations and careers.”

Tremont holds a Bachelor of Science degree in information systems management from the University of Maryland University College, where she is completing a Master of Science degree in cybersecurity management and policy. She is a former vice president of the Young Alamo chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) and a former president of the National Association for Female Executives San Antonio.

“Ms. Tremont brings leading-edge-level technical experience and has achieved an outstanding level of professional success,” said Reeser. “Likewise, TSTC has robust offerings in IT and cybersecurity, so we’re excited to have her unique perspective as part of our governing body.”

Hatchel, who is serving his second term, is also the former chairman of the TSTC Board of Regents’ Finance Committee.

Before retirement, Hatchel served for 33 years in municipal administration in various cities in Texas, including Abilene, Plainview and Waco.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from West Texas State University (now West Texas A&M University). He is a life member of the Texas City Management Association and the International City Management Association, and a member of the Brazos Higher Education Service Corporation, Texas Legal Board of Directors and the State Bar of Texas Standing Committee on Minimum Continuing Legal Education.

“I am very pleased and glad that I was appointed for another term,” said Hatchel. “It’s great being a part of the TSTC family and working toward creating a quality workforce for Texas. I am very passionate about what the college does, and I sing praises about TSTC wherever I go.”

Hatchel added, “I always tell people that the way you spell TSTC is J-O-B-S.”

Leaving the board is Joe M. Gurecky of Rosenberg, appointed in 2006 and reappointed in 2011, and Joe Hearne of Dallas, appointed in 2006 and reappointed in 2011.

TSTC machining lab dedicated to regent, local leader

(FORT BEND) – In what was an emotional Texas State Technical College Board of Regents meeting, outgoing regent Joe M. Gurecky was recognized for his service to the college, the manufacturing industry and the community.

At that special meeting a resolution of appreciation was presented to Gurecky and in a rare and distinguished tribute the lab inside the Industrial Technology Center was named the Joe M. Gurecky Machining Laboratory.
“I am overwhelmed and moved with emotion,” said Gurecky. “I never expected to have the lab named after me. It is a true honor.”
Gurecky was appointed as a TSTC Regent by Governor Rick Perry on June 9, 2006, and reappointed on September 1, 2011, serving more than a decade.
It was also some 15 years ago, as Mayor of Rosenberg and sitting on the Rosenberg City Council, that he worked diligently to bring TSTC to the community.
“It is impossible to state the importance Joe Gurecky has had on TSTC,” said TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser. “And I want to note that without his contribution, TSTC in Fort Bend County may have never happened.”
TSTC Board of Regent Chairman John Hatchel shared Reeser’s sentiment.TSTC Regent Joe Gurecky and wife Doris Gurecky
“It’s going to be difficult to replace Joe,” said Hatchel. “He added stability and wisdom to our decisions.”
A product of technical education, Gurecky knows first-hand the impact it can have on a person’s life and calls it a privilege to provide the same opportunity to the community.
“The doors of opportunities that opened for me because of my technical education was remarkable,” said Gurecky. “And I, along with my wife Doris, want to give the same opportunities to the students of TSTC.”
Gurecky and his wife have donated more than $100,000 for scholarships and the Chancellor’s discretionary fund, which is used to facilitate the institution’s needs.
Gurecky always gives credit where credit is due; he said he could not have spent the last 12 years as a regent, or the last six decades pursuing his career, without the support from his wife and family.
“I couldn’t have done what I have done alone,” he said. “This is as much their accomplishment and honor as it is mine.”
Gurecky spent 27 years working for Baroid Corporation, a Houston-based oil and gas industry production company, before using his family’s life-savings in 1983 to open Gurecky Manufacturing, which operated out of his garage with only three machines.
Since then, the company has undergone significant growth and is now housed in a 40,000-square-foot-facility filled with state-of-art precision manufacturing machines.
And although Gurecky will no longer serve as regent, he said he will continue to work closely and share his experiences and advice with TSTC as a mentor for students, and assist with recruitment efforts.
“Joe and Doris are pillars of this community and to have Joe serve as a regent has been a distinct privilege for TSTC,” said TSTC Field Development Officer John Kennedy. “He has brought a unique perspective to the board and we will forever be grateful for his years of service to the college.”
Kennedy added, “Joe and Doris are financially vested in TSTC. As a result of their generosity more than 150 students have been able to attend classes at our Fort Bend County campus.”

Community Celebrates TSTC Growth in Fort Bend County

(FORT BEND) – Residents and community leaders of the Fort Bend County community toured the new Brazos Center today as part of an Open House for the new building on the Texas State Technical College campus.
The Brazos Center, a 57-thousand-square-foot building, first opened for classes in Fall 2017 and a dedication had been scheduled for last October, but was postponed due to Hurricane Harvey.
“We’re late celebrating this new building but no less excited to be here and have new offerings for the students of this region,” said Provost Randy Wooten. “Nature is bigger than we are but we bounced back with little negative impact to enrollment.”
The Brazos Center houses four new programs: Robotics Technology, Electrical Power & Controls, Environmental Technology – Compliance specialization and Electrical Lineworker Technology. There are now a total of 10 programs being offered at the Fort Bend County campus.
“The programs were all chosen strictly to serve market demand,” explained Associate Vice President of Student Learning Bryan Bowling. “We work closely with industry and have chosen high performing and high placement programs to meet industry demand and assure there’s a job for every graduate.”

TSTC Brazos Center Open House

The Brazos Center also provides space for various student support services, including recruiting, student accounting, veterans’ programs, financial aid, admissions, bookstore and a learning resource center.
But it was the state-of-the-art equipment that most impressed one touring guest. Enrico R. Giannetti, president of Dorian Tool International, which specializes in the research and development of highly technical, innovative tooling, has already hired a graduate from the Precision Machining program and his own son recently started attending classes at TSTC.
“This is outstanding. The technology here is great. It’s the future of technology and manufacturing in Texas. The region, the state, we’re all going to benefit from having TSTC here,” said Giannetti.
TSTC’s Fort Bend campus has been built with the financial support from the city of Rosenberg, city of Richmond, city of Sugarland, Fort Bend County, Sprint Waste Services, the George Foundation and the Henderson-Wessendorff Foundation. The municipalities and foundations made more than $40 million in contributions to help TSTC expand its educational opportunities in the region.
This summer there are 300 students enrolled in classes and that number will jump to 500 in the fall. TSTC enrollment is on track with growth predictions and Provost Wooten is already planning ahead.
“We have exceeded expectations. We anticipate outgrowing our space and needing building number three in about three years,” explained Wooten. “We’re already meeting, talking about need and starting the groundwork for future growth.”
Ultimately, the TSTC campus in Fort Bend County will boast six to eight buildings and be able to serve a projected enrollment of 5,000 students.
TSTC serves Texas through 10 campuses in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood, Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater, Waco and Williamson County. TSTC has graduated more than 100,000 students into the state workforce in its 50-year history.
For more information on TSTC in Fort Bend, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC grad secures job before graduating

(FORT BEND) – Texas State Technical College Cyber Security Technology student Esteban Martinez from the Fort Bend County campus has waited a long time for graduation day, and tonight, he receives his associate degree with a job offer in hand.

The Needville native will join more than 30 of his peers at TSTC’s Commencement ceremonies being held at the Rosenberg Civic Center and will become a member of an alumni network more than 100,000 strong.

“I’m excited to be graduating. I don’t have to worry about studying and tests anymore, said Martinez while laughing. “In all seriousness though I feel so happy and fulfilled now.”

The 32-year-old began his college journey at the University of Texas-Pan American in the Rio Grande Valley, now known as the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. He was a pre-med student, but as Martinez puts it, life happened.

“I met my wife there,” he reminisces. “We got married, had a baby and moved to the Houston area to move closer to her family. So I dropped out.”Cyber Security Technology student Esteban Martinez

With a passion for the medical field and computers, Martinez tried for months to find an information technology job in a hospital, but every position required a college education and degree.

After seeing a few TSTC advertisements about the campus’ new Cyber Security Technology program, he said he knew what he had to do.

“This was my chance to get the education I needed to get ahead and the career I wanted,” said Martinez.

Throughout his two years as a full-time student at TSTC, he also worked full-time as a cook at a local restaurant and built and repaired computers as a side job.

“It has been a huge challenge and sacrifice. There have been so many hours spent away from my wife and children,” he said. “But I did what I had to do as a husband, father and provider.”

The sacrifice and the work paid off for Martinez. He is now a field service technician with Puffer-Sweiven in Stafford, a leading provider of automation valves, measurement and process control solutions in Southeastern Texas.

“I feel like I can actually enjoy commencement now because I don’t have to worry about job hunting,” he said. “It’s such a load off to know I’m set with a secure job and excellent pay.”

Martinez credits his success and preparedness for the “real-world” to his instructors, their experience, the hands-on training and the additional certifications he received in various software.

He also said he could not have done it without the financial aid and Texas Success Scholarship he received from the college, which minimized financial stress.

“I got training and certifications that I couldn’t have found anywhere else,” he said. “Everything we did in class prepared us to be critical thinkers and self-starters. We (students) definitely leave this program more marketable and competitive out in the field.”

His wife and children will be sitting in the audience as Martinez walks in to “Pomp and Circumstance” and walks across the stage in his cap and gown.

“I hope this sets an example for my sons, that if you want something, hard work and believing in yourself will help you accomplish your goals,” he said.

TSTC’s commencement ceremony will be held at the Rosenberg Civic Center tonight at 6 p.m. with TSTC Regent Pat McDonald and President of Si Environmental Jeff Haley, who also serves as Treasure for the Fort Bend Economic Development Council Executive Committee, addressing the graduates and their families as this year’s commencement speaker.

Chancellor’s Excellence Award – Chris Martin

(FORT BEND) – Although Chris Martin has only been with Texas State Technical College in Fort Bend County for just over a year, he has already made a favorable impression and recently earned the 2018 Chancellor’s Excellence Award.

“Before this, I was not familiar with the award or the scope of it,” said Martin, business relationship manager for TSTC. “So when people started congratulating me and making a big deal, I was surprised to learn what it meant.”

The Chancellor’s Excellence Award is given by TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser to select faculty and staff for their distinguished service and dedication to the college, their communities and their state.

“These teammates were nominated by their peers, recommended by their provosts and vice chancellors, and chosen as faculty and staff who model excellence in our college every day,” said Reeser. “Their caring and dedicated efforts embolden us all to make a difference in the success of our teams and the lives of our students.”

Born in Houston and raised in Fairfield east of Waco, Martin graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Houston in 2000 and a master’s degree in business administration from Houston Baptist University in 2015.Chancellor Excellence Award Chris Martin

He arrived at TSTC with an extensive background and experience in economic development, real estate and health care. He first heard of TSTC while serving on the Rosenberg Development Corporation, where he still serves as president.

“One of the initiatives for the Rosenberg Development Corporation was to bring TSTC to our county,” said Martin. “I was instantly impressed with the college and the services and opportunities it would offer to our area.”

Martin was working as a real estate agent and owned a small business consulting group when he saw the job posting on TSTC’s website.

“My passion is economic development and workforce training. I love all facets of the area,” said Martin. “So I saw this as a great opportunity for me and I went for it.”

As TSTC’s business relationship manager in Fort Bend County, Martin establishes business relationships for the campus with the goal of securing workforce training opportunities.

Besides the work he does for TSTC, Martin maintains his real estate license, serves on the board of the local library and museum, is a committee member for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and serves as a swim meet director for his son’s competitive swim team.

Loree Scott, TSTC’s senior executive director for workforce training, said Martin has a servant’s heart, which is an inspiration to many.

“Chris was instrumental during the tragic aftermath of Hurricane Harvey,” said Scott. “He volunteered countless hours with the TSTC food pantry, located and assisted TSTC Fort Bend County families with cleanup and rescue, offered his home to our TSTC families who were displaced, and found resources such as gas in the days following the storm.”

Scott added, “It is Chris’ willingness to go above and beyond in everything he does that makes him so deserving of this award.”

Martin said he is thankful to those who nominated him for this distinguished award and is happy to represent TSTC.

“It’s humbling to know that my work is being noticed, and I feel so appreciated,” he said. “Never have I received an award like this. TSTC is truly one big family, and I hope I can continue to be a part of the college’s growth and live up to what this award means.”

Martin will join the other 15 Chancellor’s Excellence Award recipients from across TSTC’s 10 campuses in May for the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development awards dinner and celebration in Austin.

Chancellor’s Excellence Award – Vanessa Vasquez

(HARLINGEN/FORT BEND) – It will be three years in May since Vanessa Vasquez became part of the Texas State Technical College family to share the passion she has for student recruitment.

It is this same passion and dedication she exhibits daily that has earned her the honor of being a 2018 TSTC Chancellor’s Excellence Award recipient.

“I literally cried when I found out,” she said. “I was astonished and never expected anything like this to happen to me.”

The Brownsville native and TSTC executive director of admissions joins 15 other honorees statewide who were given the award by TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser for their distinguished service and dedication to the college, their communities and the state.Vanessa Vasquez Chancellor's Excellence Award recipient

“Their caring and dedicated efforts embolden us all to make a difference in the success of our teams and the lives of our students,” said Reeser. “These teammates were nominated by their peers, recommended by their provosts and vice chancellors, and chosen as faculty and staff who model excellence in our college every day.”

Vasquez, who is also a first-generation college graduate, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Teaching-Early Childhood Education in 2007 and a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education in 2012, both from the University of Texas at Brownsville, which is now the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

It was at UTB where Vasquez first discovered her passion for higher education as a work-study student in the Admissions and Records department.

“My first job became what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” said Vasquez. “The experience of working with students from the time they enter our college’s doors to the time they walk across the stage in a cap and gown is invaluable to me. It makes me believe that what I do matters and changes lives.”

After Vasquez’s four-year stint in work-study, she went to work for six years as a transcript evaluator and later as a recruiter at UTB. She then worked as the admissions and records coordinator for Texas Southmost College for another three years before moving to TSTC.

“I was immediately interested in checking out TSTC. I knew it wasn’t an ordinary college, and I wanted to be a part of that,” she said.

Vasquez said it was the hands-on training and one-on-one teaching offered to TSTC students that drew her to the college as the advisement and testing center coordinator.

“TSTC has exceeded all of my expectations,” she added. “They have opened my eyes to the opportunities they provide and have been a game changer for even my family.”

After only one year with TSTC, Vasquez received her promotion as executive director and made the move to TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus, where she now resides. But she didn’t leave by herself.

“A four-year college wasn’t for my youngest brother, and he had given up on the dream of a college degree,” she said. “But when I introduced him to TSTC and invited him to come with me, he agreed and is now a college graduate with a certificate in welding.”

Vasquez added that this, along with the rest of her siblings having become college graduates, is a huge success for a family that lost their father at a young age and grew up in a single-parent home.

Christine Stuart-Carruthers, TSTC’s vice president of student development and senior enrollment services officer, said that the greatest assets Vasquez brings to the team are her passion for helping students and her leadership.

“She is motivated to help students achieve their dream of completing a college education, and her passion is contagious. She is always motivating those around her and lending a helping hand,” said Carruthers. “Vanessa has been instrumental in helping launch the Fort Bend County campus and in molding the culture so that staff are ready to take on whatever comes their way.”

Carruthers added that she is excited for Vasquez’s recognition and that her peers also recognize the hard work she puts into helping students and being a resource for others.

Vasquez said she hopes to continue growing with the college, working hard on her No. 1 goal of helping students succeed and continuing to making those who nominated her proud. She added that she doesn’t want to let them down.

Vasquez and the other TSTC Chancellor’s Award recipients will come together in May for the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development awards dinner and celebration in Austin.

 

TSTC Students Place Third in Statewide Talent Competition

(ROSENBERG) – Texas State Technical College students John Ward and Brandon Felts competed at the college’s annual talent competition finals in Waco on March 21 and placed third statewide. TSTC hosted the talent competition in conjunction with “Texas Music Cafe.”

The students advanced to the finals after being chosen to represent the Fort Bend County campus.

Ward said the experience offered him a chance to see more of TSTC and learn more about the college.

“I had a great experience,” Ward said. “Being with a bunch of other students from different locations in Texas definitely allowed me to get a sense of what the overall TSTC community was like. I liked seeing all these young adults and adults wanting to better themselves and also tap into their hobbies, things that they don’t necessarily assume they’ll be involved in at a technical college. It’s great because it goes to show that TSTC can appreciate more than just technical minds.”

With Ward on guitar and vocals, and Felts on drums, this year was the first time students from the Fort Bend County campus competed. Ward hopes they can inspire others to join in the future.

“Brandon and I were the only ones (from TSTC in Fort Bend County),” he said. “Hopefully what we’ve done this year can inspire and kind of get people to bring in the things they love, as opposed to just going to school and following the routine. I just want to inspire those to not be afraid, because what these types of opportunities do is allow you to network.”

Felts agreed.

“I wish a lot of people could step up because I know there’s a lot of talent out there, but people are kind of shy and timid,” he said. “I felt that John and I could kind of be the first to excite people, and maybe it might start a change in the future.”

The duo, both HVAC Technology students, only began playing together a few days before the first competition. In the four days before the mid-February competition held in Harlingen, they wrote the song they performed. They had just the weekend before the final competition to complete their second song.

“For the finals, we got such a late notice — we only had three days to practice,” Felts said. “We wrote the song on Friday, practiced it Saturday and Sunday, went through it again Monday, and the show was on Tuesday. It was quite a challenge because not only did we have that, but we also kept up with school. It helped us succeed and achieve. It just proved to us how good of musicians we are on such a short notice.”

Ward draws influence from funk, soul and R&B artists and cited Jack Johnson and Allen Stone as some of the artists who inspired him to learn guitar.

“There’s something about the interpretation of soul music,” he said. “You listen to the greats who did funk, and you hear the pain or the joy in their voice when they sing. There’s so much more than just a simple vibrato — there’s raspiness, there’s pain, joy, love, hate. All of that ties into what soul and funk can do, and that’s my preferred genre.”

Meanwhile, Felts appreciates rock music. He enjoys artists such as Chevelle, Breaking Benjamin and Avenged Sevenfold. He named Avenged Sevenfold’s late drummer Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan as one musician who has made a big impact on his life.

“Back in the day when I had bands, I wanted to be just like him,” he said. “I wrote everything. I wrote guitar parts, I wrote drum parts, I wrote lyrics. Not many people know that drummers can do stuff like that, and that’s what Jimmy did. He inspired me to do it all. He sang, he drummed, and he wrote most of the music. He’s my biggest influence.”

The third-place winners took home a microphone, a DJ set and headphones. But to Ward, it wasn’t about the prizes.

“I’m for the experience and the people that I’m able to make connections with,” Ward said. “I just enjoy being around people who do what they love.”

Felts said he was happy to have built a friendship with Ward over the experience.

“Playing with someone, you have to have a certain type of energy, and you just have to feel it with each other. And that’s how we felt — even in just that short time,” he said. “We are planning on starting up music and hopefully writing something. We just want to play and enjoy and have fun.”

“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.

TWC awards TSTC Harvey Relief Grant for training

The Texas Workforce Solutions Gulf Coast Board recently awarded Texas State Technical College with a Harvey Relief Grant to assist with the training and certification of men and women in the construction field who are working to rebuild the area after Hurricane Harvey’s devastation.

The grant awarded gives TSTC’s Workforce Training and Continuing Education Office more than $82,000 to develop and offer its first National Center for Construction Education and Research Basic Construction course at TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus.

“This grants provides us with the infrastructure we need to provide the basic training

TSTC NCCER Training Course

all employers require of their employees,” said Victor Blalack, TSTC’s Continuing Education statewide project manager. “This allows us to work upon our mission of providing the Texas workforce with quality trained individuals.”

The grant provides the funds TSTC needs to train and certify course instructors, certify the lab that will be used and purchase all tools and equipment needed for the class.

The NCCER Core course is open to anyone interested in successfully completing the 73-hour training, whether its employers providing the training for their employees or employees looking to get ahead in the field.

Those who enroll in the course can expect to learn the foundation of construction safety, tool safety and field communication and will become certified by NCCEER.

NCCER credentials are recognized internationally so can be used to work in the United States and abroad.

”Safety is a number one priority everywhere and for everyone,” said Blalack. “So obtaining a certification like this shows employers that a candidate has a high level of skill when it comes to construction safety.”

Blalack also added, “Having a NCCER certification makes a job candidate more marketable and is highly sought. Employers, especially large-scale construction companies require NCCER certifications, so this course is an advantage to many.”

The NCCER course is expected to begin late April or early May and will offered as day and evening courses depending on demand.

Tuition for the class is $1,118 and there are additional grants through the Texas Workforce Solutions for qualifying candidates. Employers also have the option of sponsoring their employees.

The need for NCCER certifications has increased due to the construction the area is undergoing to rebuild the towns and cities hardest hit along the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Harvey.

Blalack said he is glad that TSTC can help the community on this level and hopes that this initial course is a stepping stone for TSTC because his goal is that program will open doors for other NCCER certification courses at the Fort Bend County campus.

For more information or to register call TSTC’s Workforce Training and Continuing Education Office at 956-364-4179.

Historic first for TSTC students in Fort Bend County

(FORT BEND) – Texas State Technical College’s Fort Bend County campus is sending its first SkillsUSA team to state competition at TSTC’s Waco campus next month.

At least nine students will compete in the categories of Diesel Equipment Technology, HVAC, Welding Technology and job skills demonstration.

SkillsUSA is a professional organization teaching technical, academic and employability skills that help high school and college students pursue successful careers. Members build these skills through student-led team meetings, contests, leadership conferences and other activities.

Students in Skills USA participate in hands-on competitions in various fields such as science, technology, engineering, mathematics, building construction and culinary arts.

SkillsUSA TSTC campus advisor and Diesel Equipment Technology instructor Spencer Paige said he is happy he was able to implement this program – the first for the campus.

“Before TSTC I worked for the school district and was the advisor for high school skills,” he said. “I saw so much of the benefits students received from this program, that I wanted our TSTC students to have the same opportunities.”

Paige added that students who compete in SkillsUSA get to practice and improve on the skills they have learned in the classroom, build on their soft skills such as public speaking and interviewing and network with industry professionals who judge the competitions.TSTC Fort Bend County First SkillsUSA Team

“The selling point for our students is getting to meet and speak with industry professionals, many of which are also recruiters,” said Paige. “In SkillsUSA our students get to showcase their skills and some leave with interviews or job offers. This is a big deal for our students and our college.”

TSTC Diesel Equipment Technology student Troy Ketchum expects to earn his certificate in August, but first will compete at the SkillsUSA state competition. This is his first time ever competing.

“I’m excited and nervous all at the same time,” he said. “I can’t wait to visit another TSTC campus, see where we (students) stand among other college students in our field and meet with professionals in our field.”

The 30-year-old said he jumped at the opportunity to participate.

He will be the only one from the campus competing in job skills demonstration and will present on the topic of, “The Importance of Tire Pressure and Tread Depth.”

“I’ve been working hard on preparing for SkillsUSA, we all have,” said Ketchum. “This is our first year and we all want to make a mark.”

The Rosenberg native has been staying after regular school hours preparing his presentation and practicing in front of other students, faculty and staff.

Paige said it has been all hands on deck, helping the students practice, prepare presentations and working with Talent Management and Career Services on updating resumes and interview skill building.

“Our job is to help these students do their very best and make the best impression possible,” said Paige. “We all have a common goal and that is to get to nationals and produce skilled students who are competitive in the job market.”

The nationals SkillsUSA competition will be held in Oklahoma this coming summer. Historically, TSTC is a top competitor at nationals with students bringing home the most medals.

For more information on programs offered at TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

Registration for Summer and Fall 2018 begins April 2.