Category Archives: Williamson County

TSTC Students Bused to Waco for Job Fair

(HUTTO) – More than a dozen Texas State Technical College students from the East Williamson County Higher Education Center made their way to TSTC in Waco Thursday, March 22, for the college’s annual Industry Job Fair.

Over 100 employers attended the event looking to meet, interview and possibly hire students from TSTC’s programs.

This was the first year that the college’s Williamson County campus had bused students to the job fair.

“For years now, it’s been an issue of transportation,” said TSTC Provost Edgar Padilla. “We’re trying to do what we can for our students.”

TSTC field development officer Michael Smith echoed those sentiments.

“I heard from several different instructors over the year that either they had to drive them up there or they (students) had to drive on their own, and how it would be neat if we had a bus,” Smith said. “I heard that over and over, and so I told Edgar, ‘I think we should do a bus this year,’ and we started researching the cost.”

Ellis & Salazar Automotive & Collision volunteered to sponsor the bus to help the students reach more opportunities.

“We’re working with Ellis & Salazar on a different project, so I mentioned it to them and said this would really help us,” Smith said.

Smith hopes the students had a positive experience at the event.

“They’re getting to meet with these companies and see the full range of services that TSTC offers,” he said. “It’s not just coming to class and going home. Career Services will be out there to help and answer resume questions, and all the other pieces that go into making sure they’re prepared for a job when they leave. Ultimately the goal is for them to leave with a job.”

Cyber Security student Jeremiah Southern was well prepared for the event.

“I had my resumes ready and researched the companies that were there to see what positions they had open and learn about their backgrounds,” Southern said. “Some of the companies that were there, even though they weren’t there specifically looking for what my particular field will be, it just takes asking. In IT and networking, there’s always something that could be available. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.”

Southern enjoyed the event overall and found some promising opportunities to follow up on.

“There were a lot of companies and a lot of students,” he said. “It was my first time going to a job fair, and I look forward to going to more. There were some great opportunities with the Civilian Air Force and Aerotek. Aerotek specifically said they need Cisco people, so that was really promising.”

TSTC will begin registering students for the summer and fall semesters on Monday, April 2. For more information on the college, visit

TSTC hosts annual counselor update

(HUTTO) – Texas State Technical College hosted its annual Dual Enrollment Counselor Update and Luncheon Wednesday, March 21.

High school counselors, administrators and teachers from the surrounding area attended the event, which was held at the East Williamson County Higher Education Center.

Megan McBride, dual enrollment advisor at TSTC, stressed the need for the updates.

“It’s important that we hold these events so we can educate the counselors about dual enrollment statewide, not just for TSTC, but from the TEA (Texas Education Agency) and the Higher Education Coordinating Board standpoints also,” she said.

Marina Wilcox, TSTC vice president of dual enrollment, spoke 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.

Wilcox also elaborated on some of the dual enrollment programs offered by the college.

“If you go to the Texas Workforce Commission website, there’s this really cool thing called Career Check,” Wilcox said in her presentation. “If you look at Industrial Maintenance with a Certificate I, you start out with a salary of $53,000. It’s a high-tech field that’s very skilled, and we offer pathways in that.”

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

“We’ve simplified our processes,” McBride said. “We’re also working more closely with admissions to streamline those processes. Most importantly, we’ve updated the dual enrollment website, and that’s a huge improvement for us.”

Earlier this year, TSTC announced new, fully online pathways in Cyber Security, Digital Media Design, and Computer-Aided Drafting and Design. Health Information Technology was the first program to go completely online.

“Pretty much all of the West Texas high schools that partner with us have opted for these programs since they’re so spread out,” McBride said. “With us, the majority are opting in for these online pathways as well.”

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

Annual TSTC in Williamson County Open House a Success

(HUTTO) – Texas State Technical College in Williamson County held its annual open house Friday, opening its campus for tours and meetings with faculty. The event, designed for prospective students who want to learn more about the college, hosted more than 300 visitors.

TSTC coordinator of student recruitment Melissa Zamora said the event was a success.

“I think it was a great opportunity for us to get TSTC in Williamson County on the map,” Zamora said.

Zamora said the program tours were a popular part of the day.

“The demos and all the information they provided, along with our college fair, really did showcase what we offer,” she said. “I think it actually showed the students why they should commit to this location in particular.”

TSTC Provost Edgar Padilla said the college changed some things up this year to provide a new experience for visitors and for TSTC.

“We tried some new things this year that we felt would be successful in terms of bringing in more students and more applications,” Padilla said. “We had a great mix of both traditional students coming from schools with their teachers as well as individuals coming with parents. We feel it was a very successful day.”

TSTC employees came from the college’s Fort Bend County, Marshall, North Texas and Waco campuses to help make the event a success.

“We had staff from across the state join us to assist our students in serving lunch, submitting applications and answering any questions they had about the college admissions process,” Padilla said. “We’re very proud of the team that pulled together to make it happen.”

Sam McCutchen, college and career readiness counselor with Georgetown High School, said the school brought 29 students to the event.

“They had a blast,” McCutchen said. “It broadened their horizons. They learned about opportunities that they didn’t have a clue about, and they were amazed at how convenient this was to where they live. Now they know this is an option for them.”

TSTC will begin registering students for the summer and fall semesters on Monday, April 2. For more information on the college, visit

TSTC Graduate Inspired to Pursue Bachelor’s Degree

(HUTTO) – Texas State Technical College Welding graduate Coltin Wiesner has been accepted to Texas A&M in College Station to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Science.

Wiesner hopes his welding background will help him excel in his new degree plan.

“A lot of times ag teaches both the welding and the animal portions of it,” he said. “The welding will definitely help and will move over into that.”

Wiesner graduated from TSTC with a 3.2 GPA and finds it one of his greatest accomplishments at TSTC.

“I’m proud of earning my associate degree and the lifelong connections I made while doing so,” he said. “In my family, I’m the first one. My mom went to college for a semester, but my grandfather died and it was horrible for her. For me, it’s almost honoring them. I came from a background of farming and ranching; you complete high school and that was it. You went into the field. It’s just honoring that I’m going into something that they came from Germany to do and to make a new life.”

Having been inspired by his high school FFA class, Wiesner hopes to become an agriculture teacher one day.

“I would love to share my FFA experience with others,” he said. “I wasn’t in it for four years like the traditional kid; I was a band kid. Moving over, you don’t know anybody. I met amazing people there who I am still friends with today; they’re lifelong friends. Moving over into that program and having those people there helped me get comfortable. It made me who I am today.”

Wiesner said TSTC Welding instructor A. Keith Wojcik also played a part in his decision to teach.

“My welding instructor, Keith Wojcik — words can’t describe how much I’ve learned from the greatest man I have ever met,” he said. “How much he enjoys teaching people to weld after so long in the business is great. I like the creative part of welding, where you can just make something. That’s something he was really good about him. He would just say, ‘Do it.’ He wants you to succeed. He couldn’t have been any happier when I got accepted to A&M.”

Wiesner hopes to transfer that ideology into his teaching style as well.

“I love animals, I always have, and how much I enjoyed it is something I want to share with other people.”

Wiesner’s advice to those interested in continuing their education is to be productive and to persevere.

“This may sound corny and repetitive,” he said. “However, keeping up with your work and not slacking shows and pays off.”

TSTC will host its annual Open House from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, March 9. For more information on the college and its programs, visit

EWCHEC to Host Faculty Job Fair

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, call 512-759-5900.

Late Registration Ongoing at TSTC

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

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

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

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

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

TSTC Holds Fall Commencement

(WACO) – More than 550 graduates received certificates and associate degrees at Texas State Technical College’s Fall 2017 Commencement held Friday, Dec. 8, at the Waco Convention Center.

Students from TSTC’s campuses in Waco, North Texas and Williamson County took part in the ceremony. The Waco campus had 479 graduates, Williamson County had 46 graduates and North Texas had 27 graduates.

Many of the graduates already have jobs and are ready to work.

Anthony Warren, 22, of Gatesville graduated with a machining certificate. He has been working the last few months at Unique Machine Shop in Oglesby as a CNC operator/machinist.

During his time at TSTC, he had a son.

“I did what I set out to do and I will do what I need to do for me and my son,” Warren said. “If you pursue what you are good at, you will succeed.”

Some graduates are preparing to go to work.

Khadeeja Qurashi, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. living in Waco, received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Laser Electro Optics. She will start in January her new job as a wafer fabrication technician at Texas Instruments in Dallas.

“I’ve made it,” Qurashi said. “It’s amazing and I’ve learned so much. I’m confident in my abilities and I get to show everyone that when I am walking across the stage to get my degree. TSTC was a learning experience, and it was more than math and science.”

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TSTC in Williamson County Fall Commencement to be held Friday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He enjoyed the technical aspects of TSTC.

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

He also enjoyed the rapport with his instructors.

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

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

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

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

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

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TSTC Welding Instructor Honored for 25 Years of Teaching

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

Wojcik said the award is a personal milestone.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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