Category Archives: All TSTC

TSTC Alumnus Moves On to Start Welding Career

(SWEETWATER) – One of Texas State Technical College’s recent alumni from the Welding Technology program has left a high mark for future students to attain.

Luis Rueda, 20, of Colorado City took dual credit classes while a student at Colorado High School and received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology in August. He also earned two other graduating honors.

“Luis has continually proven that he is willing to do whatever it takes to make a great hand,” said Taylor Elston, a TSTC Welding Technology instructor.

Elston awarded Rueda the Outstanding Graduate Award, a recognition putting him at the top of his Welding Technology classes.

“He is constantly asking knowledgeable questions, diligently checking his work, and he focuses hard on perfecting his craft with great efficiency,” Elston said.

Rueda also earned the Provost Award from TSTC in West Texas Provost Rick Denbow. Denbow chooses one student each semester to receive the award from those who have received the Outstanding Graduate Award in their program.

“I am so proud of Luis,” said Elston. “I’m glad he got the Provost Award too. He worked hard to earn it.”

According to Elston, Rueda was a consistent leader in the classroom.

“Luis never stops working,” said Elston. “He can work circles around everyone else and still always seems to be the happiest and the least tired.”

In between welding sessions, Rueda found time to enjoy himself and make friends on campus.

“(My favorite memory is) the day we had at the cook-off at the lake,” said Rueda. “It was pretty fun.”

Rueda has always shown promise.

He has been a student at TSTC in Sweetwater since 2015, when he enrolled as a Welding Technology dual credit student through Colorado High School. He first entered Elston’s class as a timid junior but quickly began to show signs of a talented craftsman.

“His junior year he mostly kept to himself,” said Elston. “However, as a senior he was in a fabrication course during the same hours they were juniors in an intro welding course. After he had all his own assignments in, he would hang out with the younger guys and watch them weld and give them pointers.”

Rueda decided to go into the dual credit program after his brother told him how fun and interesting welding was.

“It was a great opportunity that not all schools offer you,” said Rueda. “I just thought it was a great opportunity that my school was offering and that it was gonna help me in my future since I decided that I wanted to be a welder.”

After graduating high school in 2017, Rueda continued his education at TSTC with 15 college credit hours on his transcript, saving him time and money. Rueda was already in the know about  how college worked and what his instructors expected of him, putting him ahead of the game from his first semester as a college student.

“I already knew how to weld by the time I graduated high school, so I didn’t have to worry about that and already knew my instructors well and how they worked,” Rueda said.

Since Rueda’s graduation in August, he has recently been hired to build pressure vessels at Tri-Point LLC in Midland.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC Celebrates Opening of Industrial Technology Center

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College’s new Industrial Technology Center received a grand opening Thursday night at a ribbon cutting and community open house.

The 56,000-square-foot structure on Quantum Loop next to Abilene Regional Airport is home to TSTC’s Electrical Power and Controls, Emergency Medical Services, Industrial Maintenance and Welding Technology programs. The building built for innovative technical hands-on learning opened for the fall semester in late August.

“It’s not just about the facility, but it’s about the programs and the people,” said Texas House District 71 Rep. Stan Lambert, R-Abilene.

Lambert said TSTC students walking through the Industrial Technology Center’s doors will be introduced to skill sets to ready themselves for the workforce.

“We have to be nimble and flexible and ready for the challenges to come,” Lambert said.

Even high school students in area school districts will benefit from what the Industrial Technology Center offers. Eighteen Abilene High School students are taking dual credit classes in Electrical Power and Controls this semester. And in Spring 2020, students in the Abilene Independent School District’s fire academy initiative will work on certification in Emergency Medical Services at TSTC.

“We are very excited about the new opportunities for our students,” said Abigayle Barton, the Abilene Independent School District’s associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction. “Our students will become better college and career ready.”

John Beckham, president of the board of directors for The Development Corporation of Abilene, said TSTC’s new building was in a great location for growth in the city. One of the projects he cited was the development of the 21-acre Access Business Park at the intersection of Farm Road 18 and Texas Highway 36 near the airport.

Beckham said Abilene owed it to the youth to provide them opportunities for better pay and a good quality of life. He said he looked forward to TSTC’s contributions to the city.

“Abilene has a need for a highly skilled and a technically-competent workforce,” he said.

Some attendees were seeing the building for the first time.

Jennifer Kent, director of member engagement for the Abilene Chamber of Commerce, said she was excited for TSTC’s growth.

“I love what it stands for and what it can offer to the economy in Abilene with highly qualified workers coming through,” Kent said.

Abilene Mayor Anthony Williams thanked the city’s residents for their commitment in raising $6 million to help get the Industrial Technology Center built.

And, Williams was not shy about his vision for the future. He said he looks forward to seeing more TSTC buildings, and possibly an AISD career and technical education structure, in the next few years.

“Abilene always comes through,” Williams said.

TSTC’s newest building among its 10 campuses was designed by Parkhill, Smith & Cooper, which has offices in Abilene and throughout Texas. Imperial Construction Inc. of Weatherford used local contractors where possible to construct the building.

“TSTC is making an investment in this community,” said Rick Denbow, provost of TSTC’s Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater campuses. “But just as we needed community support to get this Industrial Technology Center up and running, we will need your continued support to make this master plan, this vision a reality.”

The ITC is the first of eight buildings planned in the next several years for the 51-acre campus that is estimated to serve 3,000 students.

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TSTC Automotive Technology Celebrates Club Formation, Donation

(WACO) – Texas State Technical College’s Automotive Technology SkillsUSA Club not only celebrated Wednesday its formation this semester, but also a financial contribution to rev up the program.

The TSTC Automotive Technology program announced a $30,000 gift from CarFest in San Antonio for participating in the two-day event in the spring. The money will be divided between TSTC’s Automotive Technology programs in Waco, Harlingen and Sweetwater for tools, scholarships and educational travel opportunities.

This year marked the third time TSTC in Waco has sent students to CarFest to repair vehicles and educate visitors about the Automotive Technology program.

Garrett Carlson, 21, of Llano was one of the Automotive Technology majors who made the trip to the Alamo City.

“It was very beneficial,” Carlson said. “There wasn’t anything that I didn’t learn from somebody. The most fun I had was looking at the classic cars.”

Carlson is one of the students taking a new Career Essentials class being offered this semester in the Automotive Technology program. The curriculum is from SkillsUSA and teaches students skills like decision-making, multicultural awareness, responsibility and leadership.

Chris Perales, a TSTC Automotive Technology instructor, will lead the class with the help of program instructors teaching specialized lessons. His inspiration for starting the class, which will double as training for state and national postsecondary SkillsUSA competitions, was the trip he made as part of the TSTC statewide delegation to SkillsUSA’s 54th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference in late June in Louisville, Kentucky.

“It reenergized me,” Perales said. “It motivated me to get them interested in SkillsUSA’s Career Essentials and the Chapter Excellence Program.”

The Automotive Technology SkillsUSA Club is open to all TSTC students. The group meets on Wednesdays at noon and two hours on Friday mornings for hands-on work.

Krystal Marshall, 19, is a Visual Communication Technology from Waco, is secretary in the Automotive Technology SkillsUSA Club. She joined so she could improve her leadership skills.

“I do want to learn about cars,” Marshall said. “I like showing people there are a lot of cool things going on in this club.”

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TSTC Alumnus Stays in Region for Technology Job

(WACO) – Sheldon Burney points to his experiences at Eden High School in Concho County for influencing his career decision.

The Eden Independent School District’s information technology director guided Burney in learning how to maintain networks while still a high school student. Burney started fixing technical issues for teachers during class periods.

“It was a lot of fun doing that,” said Burney, a Texas State Technical College alumnus.

Burney has been working since August in Corsicana as a field PC/network technician at Switch Technologies. A lot of his work involves traveling to clients’ locations to diagnose technical problems.

“We support the information technology in companies in cities ranging from China Spring to Ennis,” he said.

Burney said weekly conference calls help to keep himself and his co-workers updated on hardware and software changes.

“We use an app called Slack, and we will send each other articles to read and webinars to show how technology is changing,” he said.

Texas has more than 32,600 network and computer systems administrators with an annual mean wage of more than $91,300, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Connie Standridge, Corsicana’s city manager, said there is a need for information technology workers in the city, especially for individualized services. Corsicana has more than 23,600 residents, according to 2017 population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

“I think first you have to have good internet and high-speed access and good, affordable buildings and offices,” Standridge said. “A lot of people are now working from home.”

Burney was raised in Grape Creek and grew up during his middle and high school years in Eden. He graduated in 2013 from Eden High School.

He discovered TSTC from a friend who was studying Automotive Technology.

“I only wanted to attend a school that could further my experiences with technology hands-on instead of taking it from more of a logical standpoint,” Burney said.

Burney graduated from TSTC in 2015 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Maintenance Technology and in 2018 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Networking and Systems Administration.

“I never really expected to enjoy going to class that much because I jumped into college after high school,” Burney said. “TSTC has made me more confident with technology. They have been accommodating in helping me find a job.”

He plans to return in the spring to finish classes for associate degrees in Cyber Security and Cloud and Data Center Management.

“Sheldon is one of those students who proves that perseverance will win out,” said John Washington, a TSTC instructor in the Computer Networking and Systems Administration program. “His dedication to understanding the foundational skills required to work in the information technology field will ensure that his employer will be rewarded for giving him an opportunity to showcase what he has learned during his time at TSTC.”

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TSTC Programs Enabling Students to Repair, Maintain Equipment

(WACO) – Reid Terry, 18, of Robinson feels he has the winning combination.

Terry, a student at Texas State Technical College, is double majoring in Facilities Maintenance and Management and Industrial Maintenance. He is scheduled to graduate next spring and is already excited about his job prospects.

“I like knowing how things work,” Terry said. “You learn everything and anything. In maintenance, you are fixing lots of things. I don’t want to do the same thing daily. I want to do something on the facility side, maybe at a hospital.”

TSTC students can pursue a mechanical specialization in the Industrial Maintenance associate degree program and learn about heavy equipment rigging and movement, boiler maintenance and programmable logic controls.

Students like Terry have the option of earning the Associate of Applied Science degree in Facilities Maintenance and Management covering blueprint reading, building codes and inspections, and building maintenance management.

“The dual-degree students that will work in an industrial environment have an advantage over their peers that have not been through leadership training,” said Michael Hubbard, a TSTC Industrial Systems and Engineering Department instructional lead. “As a technician, troubleshooting, analysis and evaluation skills are paramount.”

Some of the fields in which graduates in Industrial Maintenance and Facilities Maintenance and Management can work include motor vehicle manufacturing and semiconductor and electronic component manufacturing.

Many of the  jobs are in Texas.

The number of electro-mechanical technicians is projected to be more than 14,000 and the number of industrial engineering technicians is expected to be more than 64,000 through 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs in the industrial maintenance and facilities maintenance fields are primarily in the Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio markets, along with the Killen, Temple and Waco areas.

Jerry Boroff, plant manager of Evans Enterprises Inc. in Abilene, Waco and Wichita Falls, said it is a challenge finding the right employees to fill available jobs. The company specializes in motor and wind turbine repair, along with crane and hoist maintenance.

Boroff said people interested in entering the industrial and facilities maintenance fields need to have curiosity.

“We do try to train all of the guys on our equipment on what they will be using in the field,” he said. “It’s the kind of industry that you make what you want to, if you want to put in the hours.”

Terry, along with his classmates Heath Brittain, 29, of Wortham and Joseph Irador, 28, of Houston, all gained work experience working this summer at Hawaiian Falls Water Park in Waco. They learned how much effort it takes to keep the water park functioning, from fixing pumps that produce waves to keeping air conditioning systems operating.

Brittain chose to major in Industrial Maintenance to pick up where he left off at TSTC before leaving a few years ago to work in the oil and gas fields. He wants the associate degree to get him higher pay when he returns to work full time.

“We are the industrial jack-of-all-trades,” Brittain said.

Irador is double majoring in Industrial Maintenance and Facilities Maintenance and Management to help make a career change. Irador was previously a mathematics teacher in the Houston Independent School District.

“I always took things apart as a child,” Irador said. “Since I’m in the programs, I have become more mechanically inclined.”

Irador, who graduates in December, is already interviewing for jobs.

“If I know what I’m doing, I’ll be the hardest worker there,” he said.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC Alum Finds Success in Hobby Turned Career

(HARLINGEN) – As a child, Harlingen native Hunter Warner would help his father and friends work on cars and trucks.

So wasting no time at all, when he was faced with figuring out his future after high school he enrolled in the Diesel Equipment Technology program at Texas State Technical College in Fort Bend County.

His only challenge – having to move away from home for the first time.

And although there were other diesel programs in the Valley, the now 20-year-old knew TSTC was the right fit for him because of his financial situation, it was a two-year program versus four-year and it was a brand new campus.

“I had always heard about TSTC and it always came highly recommended by teachers and friends,” said Warner. “So when I heard about the new campus in Rosenberg and the new diesel program, I jumped on it. But moving away is never easy.”Hunter Warner

Like with any move, there were expenses to cover and for Warner who was a college student, there was also tuition, books and supplies.

Fortunately, Warner received the TSTC Texan Success Scholarship and was able to transfer his sales representative position at Discount Tire to the Rosenberg location.

“Although moving away was hard, it was overall a great experience and way of growing personally and professionally,” said Warner. “The training I received was invaluable. It laid my foundation.”

Warner said he is a hands-on learner, so the majority of class time spent at the TSTC diesel lab working on assignments and projects with equipment actually used in industry helped him succeed.

“School is not my forte. I learn by doing, not reading,” said Warner. “And although I did consider other colleges, TSTC stood out because of its hands-on learning.”

Before Warner walked across the commencement stage in December 2017 to receive his certificate in Diesel Equipment Technology, he had a job waiting for him with Ag-Pro Companies in Harlingen.

“It was such a relief knowing I had a job waiting for me. Although, I was scared to take the plunge and leave my job at Discount Tire; I was comfortable,” he said. “But my family and friends encouraged me and told me not to let my education go to waste because of my fear.”

So now Warner is back home working as a service technician at Ag-Pro on heavy equipment such as tractors. He will be celebrating his one-year anniversary in a couple of months.

Ag-Pro Service Manager and Warner’s direct supervisor Christie Hill said it was his skills, know-how and his will to take initiative that caught her attention.

“I knew he would be a great asset to our team,” said Hill. “He is self-motivated, not afraid to work on something new and gets along great with others.”

Hill said he started out in the Lawn and Garden department and quickly got promoted to the heavy equipment side of the house.

“His dream is to become a field technician and have his own truck,” she said. I have no doubt that he will get there sooner than later. He works hard and has ambition.”

In fact, Warner will be attending a week-long session at John Deere School getting further training on electrics and hydraulics.

Warner describes his job more as a hobby than actual work because he loves it so much, and he credits TSTC’s Placement Officer Judy Cox and his diesel program instructors for helping him open this chapter.

“I want thank them for their tireless efforts in helping us students get a job,” said Warner. “Because of them I now have the dream of opening up my own diesel mechanics shop. And with what I learned at TSTC and the experience I’m gaining at Ag-Pro, I know that it can become reality.”

“And it feels great to be back home,” he added.

Diesel Technology is offered at TSTC’s Fort Bend County, Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater and Waco campuses. For more information on Diesel Equipment Technology, visit

TSTC student leaders work to increase student voter registration

(HARLINGEN) – Amanda Jimenez, 21, registered to vote this week for only the second time since her eighteenth birthday because of the encouragement she received from student leaders at Texas State Technical College during an event for National Voter Registration Day.

“Voting is important. It impacts the people in our communities, our families and us individually,” said Jimenez. “I needed to be reminded about this. I haven’t voted in a while because I haven’t liked the political landscape, but they (student leaders) explained to me that to see change I must vote.”

Jimenez said she will exercise her right to vote in the upcoming midterm elections on November 6.

There are more than 20 TSTC student leaders from campus organizations such as Student Government Association, TSTC Service Squad and TSTC Leadership Academy, who have completed the required country training to become Volunteer Deputy Registrars for the state of Texas.

Volunteer Deputy Registrars are trained to officially register voters in the state of TTSTC Voter Registrationexas. They are appointed by the county voter registrars and charged with helping increase voter registration in the state.

TSTC Student Orientation and Activities Coordinator Larissa Moreno said this project is part of many civic engagement and community service projects the students participate in.

Increasing student voter registration has been an initiative set in place by TSTC and its student leaders for at least a decade.

“Students respond to their peers and engage more freely with them,” said Moreno. “Voting is an important subject that impacts many people, so we want students to ask questions and start conversations with those they are comfortable with.”

Moreno said every student appointed as a Volunteer Deputy Registrar has been well educated and trained on voter registration, the voting process and political race and candidate information.

As Volunteer Deputy Registrars, the students are able to help with voter registration across the state.

“Our mission is to educate people and encourage them to vote,” said Moreno. “We want people to recognize the importance of voting and its impact.”

Iris Juarez, TSTC Business Management Technology graduate, returned this semester to complete her Academic Core and took on the lead role in this initiative.

“I’m excited about this opportunity. I have a passion for this kind of work,” Juarez said. “Our vote is our voice. People fought to give us this right and we have to take full advantage of it. It’s our responsibility to educate others about this.”

TSTC partnered with the Advocacy Alliance Center of Texas (AACT), a non-profit, nonpartisan entity that serves as a uniting “table” for all nonpartisan, charitable voter registration turnout efforts in the community, since South Texas sits below the state average for voter turnout.

According to AACT, six out of 10 people in Texas vote, but in the Rio Grande Valley only two out of 10 people exercise their right to vote.

“The amount of people voting in elections needs to increase,” said Juarez. “We have students at TSTC turning 18 nearly every day and they are part of the future of tomorrow. We need to educate them.”

TSTC’s voter registration initiative is year-round and, for students, it begins during their New Student Orientation.

The students so far have registered more than 200 people.

Voter registration at TSTC is open to faculty, staff, students and the Cameron County community.

The last day to register to vote is October 6, early voting at TSTC is October 22-26 in the Student Center VIP Room from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

To register to vote or for more information on voter registration, call 956-364-4117.


Student Success Profile – Iris Juarez

(HARLINGEN) – Iris JuarezIris Juarez graduated in Summer 2018 from Texas State Technical College with an associate degree in Business Management Technology.

The 21-year-old returned to TSTC to complete her Academic Core, where she also holds a 3.3 grade-point average and is a student orientation leader with TSTC’s New Student Orientation office.

The San Benito native also serves on the TSTC Service Squad, Leadership Academy and has taken on the responsibility of leading TSTC’s voter registration initiative.

What are your plans after graduation?

After finishing my classes at TSTC I will transfer to the University of Texas at San Antonio to pursue a bachelor’s degree in General Business Administration with a minor in Communications.

What’s your dream job?

I currently work part time at my parents’ air conditioning business. This is giving me the experience I need to one day make my dream of managing a cosmetic or logistics business or even opening a business of my own.

What has been your greatest accomplishment while at TSTC?

My greatest accomplishment while at TSTC was applying and getting the student worker position with the New Student Orientation office. It is because of this job that I am now involved in several on campus organizations, I’ve grown personally and professionally and I’ve created long-lasting friendships.

What greatest lesson have you learned about yourself or life?

The greatest lesson I have learned is to not underestimate myself and to always pursue the challenges that scare me. If something doesn’t scare me, then I’m not growing.

Who at TSTC has had the most influence on your success?

There are two people on campus who have had a great influence on my success. First it’s my Business Management Technology Instructor Steve Szymoniak. He has taught me to be bold and not be afraid of a challenge. He’s a go-getter and he aspires his students to be go-getters also. Next is Student Orientation and Student Activities Coordinator Larissa Moreno. She has helped me grow and reach out of my comfort zone. She challenges me and teaches me confidence.

What is your advice for future TSTC students?

My advice for future TSTC students is to get involved and join campus organizations. Doing this can change your entire college experience, you meet a great network of people and try new things. Also, take advantage of the resources and services TSTC offers its students. There is so much available.

New TSTC Instructor Brings World Experience to Culinary Arts Program

(WACO) – Executive Pastry Chef Michele Brown wants to bring the world to Culinary Arts majors at Texas State Technical College.

And she has the credentials to back up her vision.

Brown is a two-time member on regional Texas teams competing in the IKA/Culinary Olympics held every four years in Germany. She also provided support for Epicurean World Master Chefs Patrick Mitchell and Morris Salerno on the gold medal winning regional Texas team at the 2014 Expogast Villeroy and Boch Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg.

“Wow! A beautiful pastry chef, so talented,” said Salerno, owner and executive chef at BISTECCA –  An Italian Steakhouse in Highland Village. “Michele was a huge part of my international gold medal in Luxembourg in 2014. I will always be indebted to her.”

One of Brown’s goals as the new lead instructor in TSTC’s Culinary Arts program is to encourage students to do competitions not only to practice their skills, but to see what else is going on in the world.

Brown wants to see program faculty visit area schools to recruit students and increase interest in SkillsUSA. She also wants to get the program certified through the American Culinary Federation.

“The ACF is the gold standard in American cooking,” Brown said. “It means you have been tested with the hours you have put in and the competition work.”

Brown said having an ACF-certified program means TSTC can host certification testing. Also, Culinary Arts graduates can earn their organization certification, making them marketable to employers.

“Don’t burn any bridges,” Brown said. “I want the students to look around in their classroom, because those are the people they will see the rest of their lives, somewhere.”

Chef Gayle Van Sant, a TSTC Culinary Arts instructor, has known Brown for years through their involvement in the Texas Chefs Association.

“We are honored to have Chef Michele,” Van Sant said. “Our program is going to grow, both professionally and in the number of students. She will be instrumental in promoting pastry and baking. Our students will benefit greatly.”

Brown has had her eye on TSTC for a while. She met TSTC’s Chef Mark Schneider through the Texas Chefs Association and has kept up with the program’s growth.

“The caliber of students has really impressed me,” Brown said.

Brown said she enjoys teaching because she can take pride in students making their own discoveries.

“I like that moment the students get when they learn flour, eggs, sugar and yeast are not scary,” she said.

Brown grew up in northern Illinois. She said one of her first culinary experiences as a child was making chocolate chip cookies for her father. Her gift for the achievement was a mixer. Brown was involved in theater and worked in baking throughout high school.

She has an associate degree in pastry arts and an associate degree in Food Service Management from Johnson & Wales College (now Johnson & Wales University) in Providence, Rhode Island.

After college she worked at restaurants in New York City.

“I have washed dishes, I have been a cake gofer getting items,” Brown said about her career. “You have to build your way up. It’s up to you to do that because you need to know every aspect of the job.”

Brown earned the Certified Baker designation from the American Institute of Baking in 2010 and the Certified Executive Pastry Chef credential from the American Culinary Federation in 2017.

“I like being an architect with pastry,” she said. “I adore a good coconut pie.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to


TSTC, TWC partnership provides manufacturing training for local companies

(HARLINGEN) – Michael Durant, a mechatronics tool and die maker at AdTech Plastic Technology in Harlingen has not been in a classroom since the 1980’s, but thanks to a partnership between Texas State Technical College and the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) he is back and ready to learn.

“I love learning. You’re never too old to learn,” said the 49-year-old sitting in industrial math. “It feels great to be back and I’m excited for this opportunity.”

Durant and others from Fox Valley Molding and Aloe Laboratories in Harlingen and Sauceda’s Precision Grinding in San Benito make up a Harlingen Consortium that was recently awarded a $155,721 Skills Development Fund Grant for a full year of training.

TSTC’s Workforce Development and Continuing Education Executive Director Isidro Ramos said training provided by the TWC is crucial for companies, especially those with less than 100 employees.

“Technology is constantly evolving and it’s important for companies to keep their employees up to date,” said Ramos. “It’s a competitive industry and to remain competitive and keep production high, training is a priority.”

David Blackburn, Fox Valley Molding general manager, who has participated in other TSTC trainings in the past, said continual training is crucial. He will be sending various employees from the tool shop and maintenance to TSTC.TSTC & TWC Harlingen Consortium Training

“We’ve always had a great experience with TSTC. It’s always a great learning experience for my employees,” said Blackburn. “So when this opportunity became available, we couldn’t pass it up.”

“I’ve personally seen skill sets improve, employees gain a better scope and understanding of their work and our production increase,” he added. “So I’m looking forward to seeing what we’ll gain at the end of this training.”

Employees from the four companies that make up the consortium began training this month and will take classes such as basic blueprint reading, industrial math, basic supervision, programmable logic controls and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10.

All training is customized to the companies’ needs and will be performed at TSTC and on-site.

Nathan Hernandez, a toolmaker apprentice at Fox Valley Molding, sat in Industrial Math with Durant, and as a TSTC Precision Machining Technology grad, being in the classroom was déjà vu.

“Knowing that my professional development is important and being given this opportunity is appreciated,” said the TSTC alum. “I’m hoping to learn as much as I can and I look forward to implementing what I learn into my daily work.”

As for Durant, who has been in the industry nearly three decades, he is excited to learn about new technologies and techniques.

“I’m just hoping to come out smarter than I came in,” he said with a laugh. “But in all seriousness, a lot has changed in our field, and new technology is introduced constantly, so I’m hoping to get myself up to speed on a lot of it with this training.”

TSTC has hosted other consortium trainings in the past thanks to Skill Development Fund Grants from the TWC with local manufacturing companies such as Saint-Gobain, Prism, Rich Products and Portage Plastics.

“Employers look forward to these trainings,” said Ramos. “This partnership is way for us to enhance our manufacturing industry and economic development, while providing quality training, which is our forte.”

For more information on the courses and services offered by TSTC’s Workforce Development and Continuing Education, call 956-364-4590 or visit