Category Archives: Breckenridge

TSTC in Breckenridge to Host Registration Events This Summer

(BRECKENRIDGE) – Texas State Technical College will have two Registration Rally events this summer in Breckenridge.

The events will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on June 19 and July 24 in Room 103 in the Breckenridge Center at 307 N. Breckenridge Ave. The events are part of an effort to make the registration process as easy as possible for incoming students planning to take classes in the fall semester.

“This is the best time for everyone to come and get everything done to get registered or check on what they are still needing,” said Cassandra Love, an enrollment specialist at TSTC in Breckenridge.

Visitors can take campus tours and learn about the four technical programs offered at TSTC in Breckenridge: Chemical Dependency Counseling, Environmental Technology, Vocational Nursing and Welding Technology.

People interested in enrolling should bring a copy of their driver’s license, high school transcript or GED, any college transcripts, proof of bacterial meningitis vaccination and TSI scores.

TSTC is having registration events at its 10 campuses throughout the state this summer. For information on the closest Registration Rally, log on to tstc.edu/rally.

For more information, contact TSTC in Breckenridge at 254-559-7700 or visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Alumnae at Eastland Memorial Hospital Work to Improve Local Health Care

(BRECKENRIDGE) — Northeast of the hustle and bustle of metropolitan Abilene is a hospital with a big heart. Eastland Memorial Hospital, the only hospital to serve the residents of Eastland County, is home to local heroes who answered the call to become health care providers.

Some of these professionals are graduates of Texas State Technical College’s nursing program.

“This is a rural community, and TSTC assists in providing a quality education and necessary service that is so important for this community,” said TSTC alumna Brandi Riley, a registered nurse who is manager of Outpatient/Surgery Services and Education at EMH.

Currently there are five TSTC graduates employed with EMH. Some students started their nursing careers at TSTC, while others studied online to further their education.

I graduated from TSTC with my LVN in 2010 from the Breckenridge campus, and I went back in 2016 to the associate degree in nursing LVN to RN bridge program at the Sweetwater campus,” said Megan Drake, EMH’s supervisor of Infection Control, Risk Management and Employee Health. “I chose TSTC because it is so much more affordable compared to larger universities where you get the same degree.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a rising demand for LVNs and RNs, and the employment growth rate in Texas is higher than the national average.

“We hire new RNs and LVNs and encourage students to do their clinicals with us to get their foot through the door,” Riley said. “We are working on a partnership with the Breckenridge campus to get LVNs and RNs doing clinicals here and recruit some new faces.”

For those at Eastland, the hospital is a community and an opportunity to hone new skills.  

“Eastland is smaller, but I feel that I get a broader range of skills rather than working in a larger hospital, where I’d have to focus on one specific department,” Drake said.

Many of the staff employed by Eastland have earned their RN degrees through TSTC’s online program while working full time as an LVN.  

“I was working for Eastland already as an LVN, and they helped to pay for me to go to TSTC to become an RN. And that’s when I earned the position I’m in now,” Riley said.

For others, like registered nurse Belinda Williams, TSTC is a family affair. Williams earned her associate degree in nursing, her daughter graduated from the Chemical Dependency Counseling program in Breckenridge, and her husband earned his commercial driver’s license after completing TSTC’s professional driver training in Sweetwater.

“I love that you go and learn what it is that you are pursuing career-wise, and it’s cheaper than regular college. It’s a great place to get an education, and it’s a fun school that cares about its students,” said Williams, RN case manager/utilization review and quality manager at EMH.

As the need for qualified nurses rises, Riley reminds potential students to think of why they chose to pursue a career in nursing.

“You have to have a love for nursing. It’s not about the income, but caring for patients and giving the best patient care possible,” Riley said.

Registration for fall classes at TSTC is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.

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 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.

 

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.

Prospective Students Attend TSTC Open House

(BRECKENRIDGE) – Texas State Technical College in Breckenridge hosted more than 400 high school students for Open House on Friday, March 2.

The visitors were treated to talks with instructors in TSTC programs in Chemical Dependency Counseling, Environmental Technology, Vocational Nursing and Welding Technology. Faculty members from TSTC in Abilene, Brownwood and Sweetwater also attended to talk about some of their programs.

“I’m ecstatic at the turnout,” TSTC in Breckenridge Executive Director Debbie Karl said. “This was the largest open house for a TSTC campus in West Texas ever. I wanted the students to learn more about TSTC and what we offer.”

Students who visited Environmental Technology tried on hazmat suits and saw a rat play in a maze. Those who stopped by the table staffed by Culinary Arts, which is offered in Abilene, sampled food.

Vocational Nursing students showed visitors how simulated patient mannequins function. Jenny Wingate, a program instructor, said the pregnancy baby suit was popular with students.

“I hope it sparks their interest in nursing,” she said about the event.

Annette Collins, veteran programs officer for TSTC in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater, told students they could be eligible for education benefits if their parents, or any other relatives who they have lived with and been raised by for at least five years, served in the military.

Some of the school districts that sent students to the event include Albany, Boyd, Breckenridge, Eastland, Ranger and Throckmorton.

Zachary Canada, 17, a senior at Olney High School in Young County, saw the Breckenridge campus for the first time at the event.

“I want to check out Wind Energy Technology and see what they have,” Canada said. “I have family that are in it. They said it was a good thing to look at.”

All of Breckenridge High School’s students walked to the campus at scheduled times throughout the morning to visit the event.

“We are always talking about what you are going to do,” Breckenridge High School Principal Bryan Dieterich said. “We want the students to know every opportunity.”

Dieterich said the high school was fortunate to have TSTC so close for students to visit.

“A lot of schools our size don’t have this opportunity,” he said.

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

 

TSTC to Host Open House at Breckenridge Campus

(BRECKENRIDGE) – Texas State Technical College in Breckenridge will hold its annual Open House from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, March 2. This event is designed for prospective students who want to learn more about the college, but it is also open to their parents, families and friends.

Visitors can tour the campus and speak with instructors about the programs offered, including Chemical Dependency Counseling, Environmental Technology, Vocational Nursing and Welding.

Faculty from the Business Management Technology (Brownwood), Culinary Arts (Abilene), Wind Energy Technology (Sweetwater) and Health Information Technology (online) programs will be available to meet with students and answer questions about their programs.

Students will also be able to meet with Admissions, Financial Aid, Student Support Services, Veteran Services and success coaches, among others, to help guide them through the college enrollment process.

The college expects over 400 students from the local area to visit.

Interested persons should register online at tstc.edu/openhouse. For more information, call 940-447-7714.

Local Ladies Group Votes to Give TSTC Scholarships

(BRECKENRIDGE) – The Stephens Memorial Hospital “Pink Ladies” auxiliary club of Breckenridge has voted to give two $500 scholarships to Vocational Nursing students at Texas State Technical College.

The group gave their first TSTC scholarship last year, and this year they have expanded it to two scholarships.

“Many of our past students are employed at the hospital, clinics and home health agencies in our community, so helping with scholarships spreads goodwill,” said TSTC nursing instructor Marchelle Taylor. “In doubling the scholarship, two students may receive benefits, and that generosity filters out into the community.”

Donna Pardee, president of the Pink Ladies, said the group loves doing things to help the hospital, and that is why they chose to give the scholarship to nursing students.

“We love doing things for the hospital and the community,” Pardee said. “Every penny we make through fundraising goes right back to the hospital. We don’t keep any of it. This scholarship seemed to be the best way to help a local nursing student in need.”

The scholarships will help students with financial hardships.

“Many of our students live in the surrounding rural areas, so gas and transportation may be an issue,” Taylor said. “Our clinicals are also up to 60 miles away twice a week, so gas money can become an issue. Scholarships may also help students with child care, meals, books and scrubs.”

The group will give one scholarship in the fall and the other in the spring.

“We are hoping to expand the amount next year,” Pardee said. “We realize that it costs a lot to go to college and some of these kids don’t get any help, so we are hoping to help the community.”

Students interested in applying for the scholarships can contact Taylor at marchelle.taylor@tstc.edu.

The deadline to apply for TSTC’s nursing program is approaching soon. Students interested in starting the program this fall must apply to the school online and send in their program application packet by Monday, April 2.

To apply, or for more information on the program, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Veterans Receive Another $75,000 Gift from EMA Electromechanics

(SWEETWATER) – EMA Electromechanics donated $75,000 to Texas State Technical College in a check signing ceremony Friday, Oct. 20. The donation brings EMA contributions to TSTC to a total of $150,000.

The gift funds an account called Sweetwater Veteran’s Funds for College Education, which was established in 2015 when EMA gave the first gift of $75,000. Funds will go toward helping veterans complete their technical training at the college’s West Texas campuses in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater.

EMA created the account as a way to honor area veterans.

“We want to give back to them for what they do for us,” said EMA Manager Gabriel Acosta. “The way we see it is that we enjoy freedom in the U.S. because of their efforts.”

Since 2015, 36 veterans have benefited from the Sweetwater Veteran’s Funds for College Education. TSTC currently serves 68 veterans across its four West Texas campuses.

EMA hopes the gift will ease the transition veterans face when returning from service.

“The purpose of this gift is to make sure that they have a chance to go back to civilian life with some help if they need some, to go back and get a career or improve their knowledge,” Acosta said.

Robert Schneider, an Air Force veteran who is an Automotive student at TSTC, was one of the recipients of the scholarship.

“I will forever be grateful for EMA being a helping hand in a time of need,” Schneider said. “I probably speak on behalf of many veterans when I say thank you. Being able to receive help from this company has lifted a lot of burden off of my shoulders at very crucial times.”

EMA was founded in 1952 in Argentina, but in 2010 it expanded to open its Sweetwater location, where it develops and manufactures specialized electromechanical equipment for wind generation.

TSTC Interim Provost Rick Denbow said the college is grateful for EMA and its contribution.

“TSTC is very thankful to EMA Electromechanics’ gift to our veteran students,” said Denbow. “Relationships like these not only strengthen TSTC, but bolster our students and community as well.”

For information on making a difference for TSTC students, visit tstc.edu/tstcfoundation.

 

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R.E. Dye Partners with TSTC for $102,285 Job Training Grant

(BRECKENRIDGE) – Texas State Technical College has partnered with R.E. Dye Manufacturing Corporation of Breckenridge to train 51 workers using a $97,568 Skills Development Fund grant. The Breckenridge Economic Development Corporation provided a matching amount of $4,717, bringing the total to $102,285.

 

Dale Robertson, manager of the Office of Employer Initiatives at the Texas Workforce Commission, presented the check to officials from TSTC and R.E. Dye at a 2:30 p.m. ceremony held at TSTC’s Technology Center on Wednesday, Sept. 27.

 

The training was designed specifically to meet R.E. Dye’s needs in two critical areas: efficiency and aircraft manual updates. Training will be provided by TSTC instructors. TSTC has partnered with the West Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center (TMAC) to provide training for specific aircraft manual updates.

 

“This is allowing R.E. Dye to expand their customer base and go out and be able to work with more aircraft manufacturing companies to produce precision equipment for that industry,” said Rick Denbow, interim provost at TSTC in West Texas. “We’re so excited about this. It’s great for Breckenridge, it’s great for TSTC and it’s great for all parties involved.”

 

Robertson said it takes a team to bring an opportunity like this to light.

 

“It doesn’t happen by ourselves,” Robertson said. “It starts with the local folks, West Central Texas Workforce Solutions, Texas State Technical College, economic development partners and of course businesses.”

 

Virgil Moore, executive director of the Breckenridge Economic Development Corporation, said they were glad to contribute.

 

“The Breckenridge EDC is proud to have participated in this,” Moore said. “In addition to the $97,568 grant that comes directly from Texas Workforce Solutions, the Breckenridge EDC also contributed $13,517 to this project.” ($8,800 was provided directly to the TMAC for their training.)

 

Overall, the Skills Development Fund aims to improve whole communities.

 

“You are able to get funding here that helps this community, this business and the businesses around upskill their workers, train them, retain their certifications and increase their skill sets, and that is really the essence of the Skills Development Fund,” Robertson said.

 

Coby Dye, president of R.E. Dye Manufacturing Corporation, said the company is grateful for the opportunity the grant presents.

 

“I’d like to thank the Texas Workforce Commission, Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas, TSTC and the Breckenridge Economic Development Corporation for partnering to make this training possible,” Dye said. “Everyone from these organizations went out of their way to make sure the grant happened in a timely manner to meet our training needs.”

 

The Skills Development Fund is one of the state’s premier job-training programs, keeping Texas competitive with a skilled workforce. For more information on TSTC’s workforce training, visit tstc.edu.