Lorena Student at TSTC Looking Ahead to Machining Career

(WACO) – Sam Aguirre of Lorena does not want to waste time getting into his chosen career field.

“I want the experience of being able to become a toolmaker,” said Aguirre, a Machining certificate student in the Precision Machining Technology program at Texas State Technical College.

Aguirre, 20, said his favorite aspect of the certificate program has been working on grinding and computer numerical control machines.

“With this career there are endless opportunities to move up and there is the job security,” he said.

Though he is scheduled to graduate in December, he has already gotten interest from at least one central Texas business.

“We get calls from companies in Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Austin,” said Kacey Darnell, executive director of TSTC’s Career Services and Talent Management. “They have a need for precision machining graduates. It’s a skilled trade. A lot of times they have hired a student from here and it has worked out well.”

Texas had at least 26,000 machinists as of May 2016, with the largest concentration in The Woodlands-Houston-Sugar Land area, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Waco area had at least 200 machining jobs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that there will be at least 438,000 machining jobs in the United States by 2024.

Aguirre graduated in 2015 from Bruceville-Eddy High School, where he showed cattle as an FFA member and learned basic welding skills.

He started at another college as a physical therapy major and said he became fascinated with surgical equipment and how prosthetics were made. But he changed his mind and switched colleges and majors to pursue what he enjoyed.

“I thought that it would be a cool hands-on trade,” Aguirre said about machining.

Aguirre enrolled in fall 2016 at TSTC. He is keeping TSTC in the family – his mother studied in the Dental Assistant program on the Waco campus.

“A lot of the stuff they teach in high school is theory, but what they teach at TSTC is practical,” he said.

When he is not studying or working, Aguirre likes fishing and spending time with his fiancee.

The Precision Machining Technology program is offered at the Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas and Williamson County campuses.

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