TSTC Cyber Security Program Advises Caution When Upgrading Mobile Phones

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Consumers need to keep personal security in mind when transitioning to new mobile phones.

Amy Hertel, an instructor in Texas State Technical College’s Cyber Security program in Marshall, said people need to know that information on their mobile phones does not disappear. She advised people not to sell their old phones themselves because stored information can be easily interpreted by tech-savvy people.

“Until it is overwritten, it is there,” Hertel said. “If you hook it up to a computer and have the right software, you can pull that stuff right off.”

Some people will switch mobile service providers and keep their phone number when they buy new phones and stay in the same geographical area. This practice is known as porting, according to the Federal Communications Commission. 

The FCC recommends using personal pin numbers or passwords for mobile phone accounts to prevent people from “porting out” phone numbers. Scammers who get hold of a combination of phone numbers and personal information can intercept calls and get access to bank accounts, social media accounts, emails and other information accessed through mobile phones.

Hertel said the subscriber identity module (SIM) card can be moved from old to new phones. But, she said information is not actually stored on SIM cards because information is sent to a cloud-based system.

One of the most important things to do is keep up with mobile phone software updates, Hertel said.

“They do have security fixes tied into them,” she said. “The quicker you get an update, the safer you will be.”

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

Texas Workforce Commission Funds TSTC Training for Two Companies

(WACO, Texas) – Today the Texas Workforce Commission awarded a Skills Development Fund grant totaling $115,132 that was used for customized training provided by Texas State Technical College for two companies.

 The grant created industry-related training for 58 new and incumbent workers at Cargill, a Minneapolis-based company whose Waco plant processes cooked meats, and Eagle Systems Inc., which provides professional security services.

 Company representatives were invited to join TWC and TSTC officials for the check presentation ceremony held at the John B. Connally Technology Center on TSTC’s Waco campus.

 TSTC Provost Adam Hutchison opened the ceremony by commenting on the importance of keeping workers well trained to help local businesses and economies thrive.

 “The dollars that go into a project like this are reflected back in paychecks and resources that are invested into our community,” he said. “And it’s real people, earning a better living, who may then turn and contribute more meaningfully into our local economy and to the communities they serve.”

 Prior to signing the oversized presentation check, Bryan Daniel, the TWC chairman and commissioner representing the public, spoke about the importance of workforce training to employee retention.

 “So many companies have reached out to us and are taking advantage of the Skills Development program and working with both technical colleges and community colleges to create actual, real, customized programs,” Daniel said. “These are skills that the companies invest in because they want those employees to stay.”

 The training at Eagle Systems included training for its supervisors, who are located in different locations along the Interstate 35 corridor from Dallas to Austin.

 Sherri Springman, human resources manager for Eagle Systems, said the company had grappled with a solution to getting all of its supervisors together in one place for training.

 “This training was huge — just another piece of the puzzle for us to strengthen our team as a whole and just really connect those pieces and make us stronger all across the board,” she said.

 Officials from Cargill were unable to attend the presentation.

 For more information on TSTC Workforce Training, visit https://tstc.edu/workforce/home.

TSTC Environmental Class Provides Field Experience for Students

(WACO, Texas) – Texas State Technical College students pursuing the Associate of Applied Science degree in Environmental Technology Compliance are given many opportunities for hands-on experience. The Environmental Sampling and Analysis class is no exception. 

Fourth-semester students taking that class recently were given the opportunity to go outside the classroom and apply what they have learned by dividing into groups and testing drinking water at several campus locations. 

At each building they visited, students followed an assigned water sampling process: flush the water, retrieve the sample, “zero” (clear) the sample, add anre-agent chemical to activate chlorine, read the sample and record results. The results showed students the chlorine readings in each water sample. 

Environmental student Maxwell Vollan said this was his first time to go out and do water sampling himself.

“One of the biggest challenges we faced was trying to make sure that we had a nice, clean environment to get a representative sample,” Vollan said. 

Fellow student Pamela Jackson likes the program at TSTC because she is a hands-on learner, and the class allows her that opportunity. 

“I like going out there and doing stuff, rather than just watching somebody else doing it,” Jackson said. “I like to do it myself and get a feel for it.”

TSTC Environmental Technology state department chair Lester Bowers said even though the TSTC water system is monitored by the city, he wants the students to gain the hands-on experience while they are at TSTC.  

“If they go out and get a job as a field technician, this is what they will do,” Bowers said. “It is part of that job description, so I figured why not give them the technical aspect here, so when they go out there, they already know what they are doing.”

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

TSTC Helping Hands fund gets Engineering student back on his feet after flood

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Isise Flores was working on homework one late night in June when he got hungry, went to the kitchen and stepped in a puddle of water.

For the 20-year-old Texas State Technical College student this puddle turned into knee-deep water that flooded an entire part of his family’s home, leaving a humble and hard-working group of people with destruction and loss.

“We work hard and are able to support our lives, but this was an event and expense that came out of nowhere,” said Flores. “We’ve been through storms, even hurricanes, and nothing like this has ever happened.”

It was an unexpected deluge of rain that brought flooding to many Cameron County residents, like Flores, that night in June.

Flores, who lives with his parents and younger brother and sister on the west side of Harlingen, said they all immediately began working together to move household items they could salvage to higher ground while the water continued to rise.TSTC Engineering student Isise Flores

“That night we lost almost everything. Everything we worked so hard for,” said the Harlingen resident. “Furniture, appliances, you name it, it was gone.”

Throughout his trials, Flores continued attending class, and it was one of his instructors that sent him an email that brought relief to him and his family.

At TSTC, students who are going through a difficult time financially and need assistance are eligible to receive money from The TSTC Foundation’s Helping Hands fund. And with nothing to lose, Flores applied and his prayers were answered.

Flores was awarded $1,000 to help with whatever his family needed. He said he divided it responsibly and was able to purchase insulation and sheetrock and still put money toward the purchase of new appliances such as a stove and refrigerator.

“This money was a huge help financially, but it also helped lift our spirits,” said Flores. “I thank the Lord and TSTC for this blessing. This really shows just how much TSTC cares for its students. Big help like this from a school is rare.”

Flores, who already holds an associate degree from TSTC Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics and is now pursuing his second degree in Engineering, said he is doing his family’s house restoration himself, appliances have been purchased and they were just recently able to get new furniture.

“All of this was possible because of yes, hard work, but because of TSTC,” he said. “I want to thank them for giving students like me this type of opportunity. They helped me get back on my feet.”

With this money Flores said he was able to stay focused on school and his assignments so he could continue working toward his dream of becoming a civil engineer or architect, a profession he has known was a perfect match since he was a child.

“I used to build club houses with hammers and nails or whatever I could get my hands on as a kid,” said Flores. “So being able to pursue a career in the field is exciting and TSTC has laid the foundation I need for a successful career.”

Flores said he will forever be grateful to TSTC for taking care of him and his family during their time of need.

“TSTC has not only opened doors of career opportunities, but also done so much more by helping my family,” he said. “I never expected that a college I attended would do this for their students, but TSTC has gone above and beyond their call of duty.”

For more information on how you can help more students, visit tstc.edu/tstcfoundation.  

TSTC EMS instructor returns to where it all started

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Ruben Ramirez was only 17-years-old when he began his career in Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and since then his passion for the field and training newer generations of EMS technicians and paramedics has only grown, leading him to Texas State Technical College.

The Harlingen native is a coordinator and instructor for TSTC’s EMS program, a program that has seen various transitions throughout the years, but remains steadfast at filling a local, statewide and national skills gap.

It was at TSTC where it all began for Ramirez. He earned his Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certificate in 1997 and worked nearly 10 years with Valley Baptist Medical Center as an emergency room technician.

“It’s great being back at the place that kick started my career,” said the 41-year-old. “It was a perfect match because I get to do what I love, while sharing my experience and knowledge with others.”

In 2004, Ramirez returned to TSTC and received his paramedic certificate and later in 2016, he earned an associate degree in EMS through TSTC’s Abilene campus.

“TSTC has seen me through my career,” he said. “The EMS program has always had a great reputation and I’m excited to be a part of that on the instructor side now.”

Prior to TSTC, Ramirez worked more than a decade in the field with Willacy County EMS in his hometown of Raymondville and with South Texas Emergency Care (STEC) in Harlingen.

TSTC EMS Instructor Ruben Ramirez

It was at STEC where Ramirez’s career flourished. He began as a field medic, then was promoted to supervisor, before also receiving an additional certification as a fixed wing airplane and helicopter flight medic.

“This career is a life-changer,” he said. “I first got into this profession as a teen because I thought lights and sirens were cool, but it’s so much more than that. It’s about saving lives and being someone’s support while they experience one of the most difficult times in their lives.”

While serving with STEC, Ramirez decided to return to TSTC in 2010 as a part-time fire academy and EMS instructor; and only recently decided it was time to trade an ambulance for a classroom.

It was the program’s most recent transition from a continuing education course to a program that now offers certificates and associate degrees that encouraged Ramirez to s

tay at the college.

“I’m excited to be part of a program that is moving forward,” said Ramirez. “And the support our program has received from TSTC leadership and administration has allowed us to advance our technologies and produce highly-skilled and trained graduates.”

Not only do EMS students have the opportunity to now get a certificate or associate degree, but they also get to train on industry-standard, state-of-the-art simulation equipment and tools such as a simulated ambulance, simulated vitals monitors and medications, and a mock emergency room.

“Things have changed since I was a student. I wish I had everything we offer now, back then,” he said. “Students can now have access to and can become familiar with almost every basic piece of equipment before even touching it out in the field. That’s a huge advantage to have as a student. Employers look for that kind of training.”

Ramirez said as an instructor his goal is to not only continue growing the program, but also helping students grow into successful EMS professionals.

“We have a great team of experienced paramedics teaching students in this program,” said Ramirez. “And I hope that our students take away from our experiences and knowledge that we share and apply them to their careers to provide empathetic, compassionate patient care.”

As for Ramirez, he is a TSTC student again. When he is not teaching, he is working on completing prerequisite courses for his bachelor’s degree in Emergency Health Sciences.

“TSTC has always been there for me and my family,” he said. “It allowed me to enter into a successful career as an EMS technician, paramedic and now instructor. I hope that I can give back to this college as much as it has given to me.”

Ramirez’s wife, Yolanda Ramirez, is also a TSTC graduate and an instructor for the Surgical Technology program at TSTC. Which is why Ramirez calls the college “a family affair.”

TSTC’s EMT and paramedic programs are accepting applications for the Spring semester. Information sessions are held every Tuesday.

Emergency Medical Services is also offered at TSTC’s Abilene and Brownwood campuses.

For more information, visit tstc.edu/programs/EmergencyMedicalServices.

On the road to success: TSTC Auto Collision & Management Technology

From independent body shops to high-profile dealerships – auto technicians, repairers and painters are in demand, with Texas’ projected job openings to be at more than 14,000 by 2026 according to O*Net Online.

And TSTC, with its Auto Collision & Management Technology program, is ready to meet industry demand.TSTC Auto Collision Technology

TSTC Auto Collision & Management Technology department lead and instructor Jose Vasquez said the increased need for technicians is a result of advancing automobile technology.

“Technicians are either retiring or not evolving with technology, and that gives our students a leg up in the industry because our students are learning how to handle the latest in automobile technology, along with the foundations this industry is based on,” said Vasquez.

Vasquez goes on to explain how TSTC is getting its students industry and job-ready.

What is the length of the program?

The program length ranges from two to four semesters, or one to two years.

What can a student expect when they graduate?

A student in this program has various pathways to choose from: Certificate 1, Certificate 2, associate degree or advanced technical certificate in refinishing or repair specializations. They can also earn additional certifications such as the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR) level one certification.

What skills do you learn in Auto Collision & Management Technology?

The skills learned in the program expand a wide scope in auto body repair and refinishing, painting, welding, collision repair estimation, structural analysis and sectioning, wheel alignment and business English and math.

What types of technologies are used to learn these skills?

Students in the program have access to industry-standard software, equipment and tools such as paint mixing systems, alignment machines, velocity measuring systems, diagnostic machinery and repair estimation software.

How do these skills prepare a student for the workforce?

Hands-on learning with tools and equipment that are found in industry gives students a big advantage when applying for jobs. Employers are looking for certified technicians who are job-ready and need little to no on-the-job training. So the skills they learn in the program make them more marketable and ready to be hired.

What kind of positions can a graduate from this program obtain?

Graduates from this program can work as auto body technicians, structural technicians, auto body painters and estimators and work anywhere from dealerships and auto collision shops to marine sites, aerospace and insurance companies.

TSTC graduates have been hired by local dealerships such as Boggus Ford and Hacienda Ford, Greyhound and United Launch Alliance.

TSTC, Central Fort Bend Chamber host MFG Day community event

National Manufacturing (MFG) Day is around the corner and Texas State Technical College,

in partnership with the Central Fort Bend Chamber, will be celebrating with a community event.

MFG Day, traditionally held on the first Friday in October, will be hosted October 4, 2019, from 9 a.m. to noon at the TSTC Brazos Center.

“This event gives our local students, local manufacturers, and our community an opportunity to

experience TSTC in a unique way as employers will be introduced to a segment of our future workforce,” said TSTC field development officer John Kennedy. “Events such as Manufacturing Day are great for TSTC because they highlight what we do – educate, train and prepare men and women for a great-paying career.”

MFG Day is an annual event that allows manufacturing facilities and education institutions across the country to open their doors and open more minds to a growing industry that is vital to the economy and to show how 21st century manufacturers are solving tomorrow’s challenges today.

“With the growth that is anticipated in Fort Bend County within the next five to 10 years, we need to create awareness about the educational opportunities in our area for this industry,” said Kristin Weiss, president and chief executive officer for the Central Fort Bend County Chamber. “And TSTC plays an integral part in our community by helping us build our workforce and keep our workers local. So partnering with TSTC for this event was a no-brainer.”TSTC MFG Day 2019 Precision Machining Technology

According to a press release from the Manufacturing Institute and National Association of Manufacturers, last year there were nearly 3,000 MFG events held across North American with more than 80 percent of students saying they became more convinced that manufacturing provides interesting and rewarding careers after attending the events.

“Modern manufacturing environments are commonly thought of as dark, dangerous factories designed for low-skilled workers, but MFG Day addresses this misperception,” the MFG Day press release stated. “Over the next decade, manufacturers will need to fill 4.6 million jobs. These jobs offer long-term career opportunities, high pay and exposure to cutting-edge technology and innovations.”

Kennedy said the event will include TSTC campus tours, a panel of industry specialists and former career and technical education students, and exhibitor visits with 20 industry partners such as CenterPoint Energy, Englebrecht Manufacturing, Frito-Lay, FW Murphy Production Controls, I Build America and Gurecky Manufacturing Services.

“We are very thankful for our industry partners who have decided to participate in this opportunity and we hope that the students who attend this event will be intrigued by what we offer and decide to continue their education at TSTC after they graduate from high school,” said Kennedy. “Our mantra is ‘Placing more Texans in great-paying jobs,’ and we hope to offer that opportunity when these students are ready.”

More than 300 high school juniors and seniors from surrounding school districts, college students, their parents and educators are expected to attend.

They will not only gain knowledge in manufacturing careers, but also learn about the programs TSTC offers that can help them gain employment in the industry.

Attendees will take an in-depth look into programs such as TSTC’s Robotics, Electrical Power and Controls, Industrial Systems Technology and Precision Machining.

To register for the event, contact the Center Fort Bend Chamber at 281-342-5464 or visit, cfbca.org.


Local students celebrate new-age manufacturing opportunities

Monica Raumaker, a senior at Cinco Ranch High School and Miller Career and Technology Center in Katy, was one of nearly 200 local high school juniors and seniors who attended Manufacturing (MFG) Day at Texas State Technical College on Friday.

The 17-year-old, said the event was an eye opener for her in regards to manufacturing in the 21st century.

“This event was a great opportunity for students like me,” she said. “I learned about so many different career paths that I can take within the industry and it was amazing to see that what I’m learning in class is all applicable to the real world.”

The Katy native added that she is excited to enter an industry with so much opportunity.

The community event hosted in partnership with the Central Fort Bend Chamber, is part of a national celebration that is launched annually on the first Friday of October.TSTC, Central Fort Bend Chamber MFG Day 2019

Among the relevant manufacturing programs offered on the Fort Bend County campus include Precision Machining Technology and Industrial Systems.

The halls at the TSTC Brazos Center were lined with nearly 20 industry partners who were ready to network with high school and college students, educators, and leaders and members of the community.

Central Fort Bend Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Kristin Weiss said this is the first time the event has been put on by the Industrial Division of the Central Fort Bend Chamber.

“I am on cloud nine right now. The event was a great success,” said Weiss. “Seeing students excited, interacting with the companies and telling us that they’re learning so much makes me so happy. That is what this event was all about.”  

The event held from 9 a.m. to noon included campus tours, industry visits and a panel discussion with industry specialists and former career technology education students including TSTC Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) alumnus Brandon Felts.

Kellen Dorman from Gurecky Manufacturing in Rosenberg said there is a misperception about what manufacturing careers entail, and with an increase in demand for skilled technicians in the industry this has been a great event to educate and increase awareness about how the growing industry is vital to the economy and provides a number of career opportunities.

“Hosting this type of event was a great idea,” she said. “It’s so important to show our future generations that there are other options outside of a four-year university and how manufacturing is evolving.”

Dorman also added that she was excited to see so many young girls interested in pursuing careers in the manufacturing industry and she hopes that she was able to encourage them.

“We have two women at Gurecky, one of them is a machinist,” said Dorman. “That just goes to show that there is room for women in this industry, especially as the industry’s technology becomes more sophisticated.”

TSTC field development officer John Kennedy said the day was wildly successful for TSTC.

“To have so many students and potential employers in one place was fantastic,” said Kennedy. “The support we received from educators and the community regarding this event was overwhelming. I can already see this event grow annually.”

Kennedy and Weiss said they hope to continue working together to make MFG Day even bigger and better for years to come. 

TSTC Cybersecurity student breaks barriers to find success

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Rosit Youssef was only 13-years-old when her family moved from Egypt to the United States. She has struggled, but has persevered, and now at age 18, is one of the youngest students in Texas State Technical College’s Cybersecurity program.

“I struggled with being in a new country, but I knew we had to do this to escape our country’s revolution, for better opportunities and so my sister and I could have a chance at an education and a better life,” she said. “But it was all still so scary.”

Yet, she overcame her biggest obstacle yet – learning English.

“I was already learning English before we left Egypt, so I understood the words, but it was speaking it that gave me problems,” said Youssef.

She quickly caught up to her classmates and ended up excelling in high school, graduating at only 16.

However, that year was unconventional in every aspect for Youssef because of the devastation Hurricane Harvey had brought to the area, her family included.Rosit Youssef TSTC Cybersecurity student

“We graduated, but without any type of honor roll because all records had been lost in the flooding, but it’s okay, I was just happy that my family and I were safe,” she said.   

The Youssef’s new home was a total loss after the flooding. But what Youssef said she finds miraculous is that they were able to weather the storm safely in that same home, with no food or water.

“It’s been a bumpy road, but we’ve made it and now I’m here at TSTC working toward a career I love,” she said.

It was in 10th grade, during a TSTC recruitment presentation that Youssef realized Cybersecurity was the path she needed to take.

“I loved the idea of cyber safety and using cyber processes to help companies and individuals stay safe,” said Youssef. “So early on I knew that TSTC was the college for me.”

Youssef’s entire family is in the healthcare field but that didn’t stop her from pursuing her own passion.

“I’ve always wanted to do my own thing and my family has always been supportive,” she said. “And that’s why I’ve been able to succeed.”

Not letting her age be a barrier or excuse, Youssef currently boasts a perfect 4.0 grade-point average, was recently invited to join Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and expects to earn her associate degree in Spring 2020.

What Youssef said she loves about the college and what has made her experience positive is the focus on hands-on learning and the small class size for more one-on-one help. She said this has allowed her to find her niche in the field: Digital Forensics, where she said she’ll get to do good for this world.

“Even right now that I still have some time before graduating I already feel confident that I am ready to enter the workforce because of the practice and experience I’ve been able to get here at TSTC,” she said. “I could not have gotten this type of opportunity anywhere else.”

And as the only woman in her class, Youssef has also been able to take advantage of resources offered to non-traditional students in their field.

She has received some scholarships and has been able to use TSTC’s Lending Library, which has allowed her to borrow, instead of purchase, the books she needs.

“All of this has really saved me and my family money. I’ve only paid a minimal amount for my education,” she said. “I thank TSTC for helping their students in any way they can because now I am not in debt.”

Youssef said she hopes to finish her last semesters strong and help other women also enter the field of cybersecurity.

“This field needs more women and there’s plenty of room,” she said. “I want to encourage other women to pursue their passions without fear or intimidation because technology is advancing and we have to be a part of it.”

Cybersecurity is also offered at TSTC’s Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas, Waco and East Williamson County campuses.

For more information on TSTC Cybersecurity, visit https://tstc.edu/programs/CyberSecurity.

TSTC building construction lays a foundation of success for students

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – The construction industry is booming and continuing to add jobs, but with growth comes the need for a skilled workforce. And Texas State Technical College’s Building Construction Technology is diligently working to fill the skills gap.

TSTC Building Construction Technology lead instructor Rick Vargas said the industry demand is so high that program faculty regularly receive phone calls from industry partners looking to recruit students and alumni.TSTC Building Construction Technology

“This field is expanding regionally, statewide and beyond,” said Vargas. “As this continues, opportunities for our students and graduates will only increase. They’re already in demand.”

He added that with the set of skills students learn in the program, they are able to work in any area of the field, from laborer and worker to inspector and manager, with an expected salary range of $40,000 to $90,000 a year, according to https://www.onetonline.org.

What is the length of the program?

Building Construction Technology offers two pathways: Certificate 1, which is three semesters, and an Associate of Applied Science degree, which is five semesters.

What can students expect when they graduate?

They can expect to be well-rounded in all aspects of construction — residential and commercial — and be job-ready. Graduates from the program also have the opportunity of obtaining entry-level to managerial positions.

And an advantage for TSTC’s Building Construction Technology graduates is that the program is the only one in the Rio Grande Valley to offer additional certifications in building codes, forklift, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration 30-Hour Construction Training.  

What skills do students learn in Building Construction Technology?

Students in the program learn skills and become familiar with the areas of construction that include floor, wall and roof framing; exterior and interior finishes; insulation installation; carpentry, concrete mixing and pouring; and painting.

They are able to practice these skills by working on real-world projects that are sold to the community. In the past they have worked on gazebos, sheds, deer blinds, doghouses and wooden ice chests.

What types of technologies are used to learn these skills?

A student in the program has access to a workshop that is stocked with industry-standard power tools and equipment, both mobile and stationary. They also have the opportunity to work on construction management software, thermal cameras, and a drone for ground mapping.

How do these skills prepare a student for the workforce?

A graduate from Building Construction Technology is ready to hit the ground running when they enter the workforce. They are knowledgeable in the many aspects of construction and can work as construction managers, first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction, construction laborers, and construction and building inspectors.

What types of positions can a graduate from this program obtain?

Graduates from this program have gone on to build careers with local and statewide companies such as Noble Texas Builders, SpawGlass, Couric Enterprises, Origo Works, and Morton Buildings.