Category Archives: Abilene

TSTC West Texas Campuses Seeking Welding Instructors

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College is looking for motivational people who can put a spark in the lives of Welding Technology students.

TSTC’s campuses in Abilene, Breckenridge and Brownwood are seeking three qualified welding instructors with a combination of professional and teaching experience.

“We are always looking for awesome people to join our TSTC team,” said Rhiannon Hastings, lead statewide recruiter in TSTC Human Resources. “We truly value hands-on experience in industry to provide the best learning experiences possible for our students at TSTC.”

Starting this fall, TSTC in Abilene will offer the Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology and two certificates.

TSTC in Breckenridge offers a three-semester certificate in structural welding and accepts up to 20 students each semester.

“If you like small-town living, a great place to raise a family and a place where everybody knows everybody, it can work for you,” said Debbie Karl, executive director of the Breckenridge campus.

TSTC in Brownwood can accommodate 28 structural welding certificate students.

“We need someone with experience,” said Raquel Mata, executive director of the Brownwood campus. “We would like to have someone well known to the businesses and can meet and greet and have moments with them to get to know them. We want someone to be a good fit for our students and be a good leader.”

Applicants need to have current American Welding Society certifications and  experience in shielded metal arc, flux-cored arc, gas metal arc and gas tungsten arc welding processes, along with fabrication, layout and pipe welding. Applicants having an associate degree in welding are preferred.

TSTC is a state institution offering Health Select of Texas administered by Blue Cross Blue Shield, paid vacation days, sick leave and state holidays, dental insurance, vision insurance, life insurance, flexible spending accounts and retirement. The technical college also offers employee development and employee appreciation events as part of its overarching goal to make TSTC a great place to work.

For more information on employment at Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu/about/employment.

TSTC Students in Abilene to Receive Scholarships in New Programs

(ABILENE) – Students enrolling in three new technical programs this fall at Texas State Technical College in Abilene will receive a financial boost.

TSTC will give $1,000 scholarships to the first 20 students joining the Welding program and the first 40 students in both the Electrical Power and Controls and Industrial Maintenance programs.

“There are high-demand jobs in and around the area,” said Kimberly Porter, vice president of student recruitment at TSTC in Abilene. “For anyone in West Texas, they don’t have to go to the Metroplex for these industries.”

The technical programs will be taught in the Industrial Technology Center nearing completion on Loop 322 next to Abilene Regional Airport.

“I just think it is exciting because it is making a bigger footprint in Abilene,” Porter said. “The community is super-excited to have us here. It is a way for the students to stay closer to home and contribute to their local economy.”

Students must be enrolled by July 20 to get on the scholarship list. Once fully enrolled, a TSTC admissions or recruiting staff member will contact students letting them know about the money they will receive, Porter said. Students who receive the scholarship do not need to be Pell Grant eligible. The money can only be used only for the fall 2018 semester.

Rick Denbow, provost of TSTC in West Texas, said the scholarships are aimed at breaking down enrollment barriers.

“There is no question that the scholarship money will help the students,” he said. “We have three new programs that we have not offered before in Abilene. This reiterates the college’s commitment to helping the new campus start off real strong.”

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

 

TSTC Holds Spring 2018 Commencement in Abilene

(ABILENE) – More than 80 graduates received certificates and associate degrees at Texas State Technical College’s Spring 2018 Commencement held Friday, April 27, at the Abilene Convention Center.

Rick Denbow, provost of TSTC in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater, began the ceremony with a tribute to TSTC President Emeritus Homer K. Taylor of Sweetwater, who died earlier in the day at age 83.

“He would be extremely happy for you to celebrate the success of the students,” Denbow told the audience.

Texas Rep. Stan Lambert, R-Abilene, was the keynote speaker. He told those gathered about his first job as a 9-year-old washing windshields at his father’s full-service filling station. He said it was a great experience in public relations.

“You can’t replace kindness in the world,” Lambert said.

Lambert said for graduates to be successful, they need to do four things: have something to do, someone to love, something to believe in and something to hope for.

“What do you hope is the next chapter in life?” Lambert asked the graduates.

Lambert advised graduates to be honest, read the Bible, do the right things in life, have a good attitude and not to hold grudges.

“It’s important at this time to have a positive attitude,” he said.

Lambert said he admired how West Texas residents came together for the TSTC in Sweetwater students affected by the Bluebonnet Inn dormitory fire earlier this year.

Several of Friday’s graduates already have jobs.

Johnathan McCarthy, 28, of Abilene graduated with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Wind Energy Technology. He is already working as a wind technician at Invenergy LLC in Nolan.

“I got out of the Marine Corps and needed an exciting job that is stable,” McCarthy said. “Wind Energy Technology was new and different, but I knew I could do it.”

Some graduates are job searching.

Cameron Hartgraves, 26, of Abilene was a Phi Theta Kappa graduate who earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Networking and Systems Administration. He wants to stay in the area for employment.

But, this was not Hartgraves’ first college graduation. He already has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hardin-Simmons University.

“I more or less figured out that I could fix computers better than people,” he said.

Earlier in the day, the ADN Pinning Ceremony for TSTC in Sweetwater nursing graduates took place at an Abilene church.

For more information, log on to tstc.edu.

 

New Industrial Maintenance Program at TSTC to Fill a Need for West Texas

(ABILENE) – Some of the most sizzling careers right now in West Texas are in the industrial maintenance field, and Texas State Technical College is poised to fill the need.

TSTC in Abilene will offer the new Associate of Applied Science degree in Industrial Maintenance – Mechanical Specialization at the Industrial Technology Center opening this fall on Loop 322 next to Abilene Regional Airport. Students will learn about electrical theory, industrial maintenance, blueprint reading, hydraulics, pneumatics and other topics in the heavily hands-on program.

Shea Hopkins, director of talent management at the Abilene Industrial Foundation, recently took a tour of the ITC.

“It was looking good,” she said. “I think it’s exciting to have something like this in Abilene, and I think the students will be excited about it.”

Hopkins said one of the first questions prospective companies ask is if skilled labor can be found to fill available positions.

“What I like about industrial maintenance is it is the most comprehensive,” Hopkins said. “It gives the students a little bit of everything. It is not as specific as some of the other degrees. It makes for well-rounded employees, and the companies can use them for a lot of different jobs so they can use those skills.”

Graduates can use the associate degree to become millwrights, industrial motor control technicians, and electrical and electronics installers and repairers.

Electro-mechanical technicians and industrial maintenance mechanics are considered in-demand occupations in the region, according to Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas.

Steve Collins, business and resource consultant at Workforce Solutions, said there are more than 800 job openings now in the wind farm, oil and gas and manufacturing sectors in Callahan, Jones and Taylor counties for installation, repair and maintenance. The number can shift almost daily as hiring is done and jobs are open.

Collins said TSTC’s Industrial Maintenance program will be helpful to fill employment needs.

“The more education you can get, the better qualified you are,” he said.

Joe Tiner, chief engineer at Texas Healthcare Linen in Abilene, said he needs maintenance technicians who can read blueprints and troubleshoot electrical problems quickly and know how to fix machinery. He said it was great that students will get to study Industrial Maintenance in Abilene.

“Those are the guys that TSTC will produce and give them a baseline of what they need to do once they are in the field,” he said. “That is how I learned.”

The high-tech laundry company works with hospitals in Abilene and throughout West Texas to clean their 14 million pounds of laundry per year.

“We work long shifts, five days a week, and are at only about 50 percent of our capacity,” Tiner said. “We have been growing.”

The new Industrial Maintenance program has also piqued the interest of area companies.

Acme Brick, based in Fort Worth, has a production plant in Lubbock and retail brick, tile and stone stores in Abilene, Amarillo, Lubbock, Midland and San Angelo.

“That would be a nice place to look,” Yulonda Charles, Acme Brick’s human resources manager, said about TSTC in Abilene. “I do partner with TSTC on most of their campuses. We are looking for trainees coming out of TSTC, but they need to be open to moving where we have a plant.”

West Texas Industrial Engines Inc. in San Angelo specializes in engine overhauls, field services, machine shop services and other work for the oil and gas field.

“The problem with filling jobs is San Angelo’s unemployment rate is less than 3 percent, so our opportunities to fill positions in the industrial field are very limited,” said C. Alan McClain, the company’s president and chief executive officer and a TSTC in Sweetwater alumnus.

He said it was exciting that TSTC in Abilene was expanding its technical offerings with the Industrial Maintenance program.

“I think it will be outstanding,” McClain said. “Anything we can do to help get people in the skilled trades and get them an education and place them in skilled trade jobs would be great.”

The Industrial Maintenance program will be offered in Abilene pending approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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

 

TSTC Program to Change Degree Format, Offer Scholarships this Fall

(ABILENE) – A technical program at Texas State Technical College in Abilene will undergo a name change and bring with it an opportunity for students to earn scholarships this fall.

The Computer Aided Drafting program will be changed to Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology and convert to an online associate degree plan. The change is aimed at preparing students in parametric modeling and design, mechanical drafting, residential architectural drafting, topographical drafting and other skills.

“With this new associate degree, we will be more specialized,” said Justin Price, an instructor in the Computer Aided Drafting program at TSTC in Abilene. “We will focus more on architecture and engineering.”

Price said the name change will make it easier to explain to potential students what fields can be pursued with the associate degree. Some of the careers are in architectural, civil and mechanical drafting. He said program graduates have been hired in Abilene, Dallas, Fort Worth, Midland and Odessa.

“Our industry partners told us what we should be teaching our students for mechanical, architectural, piping and civil drafting,” said David Campos, TSTC’s statewide Architecture and Drafting Division director. “They responded to our call and said, ‘We hire your students, and it would be nice in the future if you started teaching this.’ We ended up adding a few more classes because technology changes so much.”

The program has received a $50,000 Fast Start IV grant from the Texas Workforce Commission. The money will supply $5,000 scholarships to 10 students enrolled in the online component of the Associate of Applied Science degree in Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology this fall at TSTC in Abilene. To be eligible for the scholarship, students in the program must take 12 or more semester credit hours, demonstrate financial need and write an essay on a topic relevant to architecture or engineering.

The application and essay deadline for the scholarship is July 2.

“We have identified a lot of potential students that are working in the industry that either are lacking one, two, three classes that can get the degree or maybe they are doing a different type of work in the industry,” Campos said. “By taking these courses online, they can move up the ladder.”

This fall’s program name and curriculum change will also occur at TSTC in Brownwood and Sweetwater. Students now enrolled in the Computer Aided Drafting program can complete their degree in the current hybrid format.

Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology will be part of TSTC Online, a group of technical programs that students can learn online. The other online programs include Business Management Technology, Cyber Security, Digital Media Design and Health Information Technology.

“The growth in TSTC Online programs has come in response to student demand for availability, flexibility and convenience,” said Gina Cano-Monreal, TSTC’s associate vice president for online learning. “Faculty developing courses for TSTC Online programs are the same faculty that teach our quality face-to-face courses. They work extremely hard to develop engaging courses that give our online students a positive learning environment and the sense of community we want all of our TSTC students to experience.”

For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu.

TSTC in Abilene Seeking Faculty for New Technical Programs

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College is looking for team members.

With a reputation for hiring faculty who have real-world industry experience, TSTC in searching for teaching candidates to teach in Abilene.

TSTC’s Industrial Technology Center is currently under construction on Loop 322 next to Abilene Regional Airport and will house three new TSTC programs: Electrical Power and Controls, Industrial Maintenance and Welding Technology.

Quality faculty are key to helping students become well-trained employees.

“The knowledge the faculty brings to the classroom and labs is hard to quantify,” said Rick Denbow, provost of TSTC in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater. “You are conveying that information to the student that has maybe limited knowledge. They are preparing those students upon graduation to get into industry and get those great paying jobs.”

TSTC will hire for four full-time instructors and two adjunct instructors in Electrical Power and Controls and Industrial Maintenance. There will also be two full-time instructors hired for the welding program. A program maintenance specialist will be hired who will help instructors prepare classrooms and equipment for labs, grade papers and other tasks needed by instructors, said Rhiannon M. Hastings, lead statewide recruiter in TSTC Human Resources.

People interested in the jobs need to have at least an associate degree in one of the fields and at least three years of professional field experience. Applicants should also have professional certifications as needed for their fields, Hastings said.

Dan Bateman, a senior instructor in the Electrical Power and Controls program at TSTC in Waco, is leading the creation of the new associate degree program in Abilene.

“What we need is someone with utility or testing and maintenance experience along with utility design,” he said.

The number of electrical engineers is expected to grow by more than 16,000 through 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. West Texas had more than 400 jobs in May 2016, according to the federal agency.

David A. Junek, TSTC’s statewide department chairman for Industrial Systems and Engineering Technology, said he wants to see Industrial Maintenance faculty members who have the academic experience and have gotten their hands dirty in the workplace. Faculty will teach students earning the program’s associate degree which has an electrical specialization.

“Industrial Maintenance graduates are maintenance technicians that can not only make repairs to mechanical equipment, but are also trained to troubleshoot electrical, hydraulic and pneumatic systems as well.”

Jobs for industrial machinery mechanics are expected to increase by more than 23,000 jobs nationwide through 2026, according to the federal labor statistics agency. In May 2016, there were more than 4,000 industrial machinery mechanics jobs in West Texas, with the most being centered in Odessa and Midland, according to the federal agency.

Faculty in Abilene will teach classes in the first Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology being offered at the TSTC campuses in West Texas.

The number of welders, cutters, solderers and brazers in the United States is expected to grow by 22,500 jobs nationwide through 2026. West Texas had more than 4,700 jobs in these fields as of May 2016, according to the federal agency.

The Electrical Power and Controls and Welding Technology programs are part of TSTC’s Money Back Guarantee initiative. Students in these programs who do not get a job in their field within six months of graduation will get their tuition back.

Hastings said Human Resources’ goal is to have the new faculty hired by early summer so they can set up classrooms and labs with new equipment in the building. Students in the programs will be able to take classes from faculty members and adjuncts in the daytime and evenings.

TSTC is a state institution offering Health Select of Texas administered by Blue Cross Blue Shield, paid vacation, sick leave and state holidays, dental insurance, vision insurance,  life insurance, flexible spending accounts and retirement. In addition, the technical college offers employee development and employee appreciation events as part of its overarching goal to make TSTC a great place to work.

For more information on employment at Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu/about/employment.

 

TSTC Names Rick Denbow Provost

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

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

Denbow said he is honored to have been selected.

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

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

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

Denbow has lofty goals for TSTC in West Texas.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TSTC to host annual counselor update

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freeman said the event is beneficial for counselors to attend

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

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

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

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

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

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

Local TSTC talent competition canceled

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

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

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

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

TSTC Helps Graduate Achieve Goals

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College alumnus Ted Harvey was working as an assistant manager at a dollar store when he decided he needed a life change.

Harvey had always loved working with computers but hadn’t thought about making it a career.

“I just loved computers and was really good at working with individual computers, home networking and stuff like that,” Harvey said.

After researching career options and colleges, Harvey finally chose TSTC’s Computer Networking & Systems Administration program.

“When I came to TSTC, I got to learn about the business side of things and got more in-depth,” he said. “That really inspired me to go out and learn more and push myself.”

Harvey was unsure of what to expect when he first arrived at the school.

“When I walked in here, I was terrified. I was 30 years old,” he said. “But when I had my very first meeting with Jennifer Herrera, she was so welcoming and so friendly. It made me feel very comfortable and relaxed. It got me even more excited about going to college. Every step of the way, my whole time here, I always felt like the staff was extremely friendly and interested in my future.”

Harvey now works as a computer technician for the city of Abilene, where he troubleshoots desktops and servers and sets up wireless access points, among other duties.

“It has changed my whole life, coming to TSTC,” Harvey said. “Before I went to school, I was absolutely miserable at my job. I felt stuck, like there was no escape. Since coming here, I’ve been able to move up in my life.”

Apart from his full-time job, he also runs his own business, Blue Helix Technology.

“It is absolutely exhausting to do that with a full-time job, but I enjoy it a lot,” Harvey said. “I manage small business networks. I do computer security and Wi-Fi for a few small businesses here in town.”

Harvey has some advice for those considering the Computer Networking & Systems Administration program: “You get what you put in.”

“When you come to the CNS program, you’re not going to graduate and immediately be a networking expert,” he said. “You’ll get a very solid foundation and hands-on learning experience that will allow you to build on that. TSTC gave me the foundation to build on for everything that I do now and everything that I love.”

For more information on TSTC’s Computer Networking & Systems Administration program, visit tstc.edu.