Author Archives: Daniel Perry

TSTC Ready to Welcome Students Back This Fall in North Texas

(RED OAK, Texas) – Students attending Texas State Technical College’s North Texas campus will see differences in how they learn and interact as they start the fall semester on Monday, Aug. 31.

“I think the exciting part of the fall to me is we have new students coming to campus to begin their educational journey,” said Marcus Balch, provost of TSTC’s North Texas campus. “The new students, the returning students, the faculty and staff all get to participate in rebuilding the economy of Texas.”

Students will see ample signage promoting campus health and safety, as well as more hand-sanitizing stations. Students will need to wear face coverings at all times, and go in and out of designated entrances and exits at the Jim Pitts Industrial Technology Center. There will be more social distancing in labs. Students will not be allowed on the second floor.

One of the biggest changes is how classes will be taught, which began being modified in late March.

Programs that will be taught in an all-online format are Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology, Computer Networking and Systems Administration, and Cybersecurity.

Programs that will be taught in a hybrid format are Diesel Equipment Technology, Electrical Power and Controls; Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology; Industrial Systems – Electrical Specialization, Precision Machining Technology and Welding Technology. 

“The only time the students will be on campus is to complete the labs,” said Matthew Dobbs, an instructor in TSTC’s Diesel Equipment Technology program. “This will allow the students that work to either have all afternoon or morning to work, or several weekdays  to allow for more work time.”

Tutoring will be available virtually. Students will need to go to TSTC’s student portal and click on the tutoring icon to fill out a form requesting help. The tutoring staff will connect students virtually to statewide tutors in their subject areas.

One thing that is not changing is TSTC’s commitment to its students.

Career Services is going virtual with its employer spotlights, career preparation workshops and one-on-one meetings with students using Webex and Google Meet.

“Since virtual platforms are the latest and most effective way of communication to ensure social distancing, students are going to have to adapt and get comfortable with speaking in front of a webcam and being spoken to from a computer monitor or laptop,” said Adrian Castanon, a TSTC Career Services coordinator.”

Castanon will have on-campus office hours each Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. starting Aug. 12. He will also be available virtually to work with students Monday through Friday.

Registration for the fall semester is underway.

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

TSTC Ready to Welcome Students Back This Fall in Williamson County

(HUTTO, Texas) – Students attending Texas State Technical College’s Williamson County campus will see differences in how they learn and interact as they start the fall semester on Monday, Aug. 31.

Students will see ample signage promoting campus health and safety, and social distancing will be practiced in labs. Students will also have designated entrances and exits at the East Williamson County Higher Education Center. Face coverings will be required on campus at all times. 

One of the biggest changes is how classes will be taught, which began being modified in late March.

The Cybersecurity program and the first-semester college preparation course will move online.

The Culinary Arts, Industrial Systems, Precision Machining Technology, Welding Technology and Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology programs will teach in a hybrid format, with on-campus labs and online lectures and tests. 

The new format is something Nelson Adams, lead instructor in TSTC’s Culinary Arts program, is excited about. The revamped curriculum will teach students what Adams said employers are looking for, graduates who have sound customer service and soft skills, along with the ability to ask for help and accept feedback.

“There will be a social aspect as they (students) share their discoveries with their cohort by way of short videos or posts,” Adams said. “Our students will be learning a full dimension of the industry that they are entering. Culinary Arts students will not just be watching videos. Instead, they will be studying recipes, costing out ingredients, researching cultures, and coming into the lab to demonstrate what they have learned by cooking the food they understand in a whole new spectrum.”

Tutoring will be available virtually. Students will go to TSTC’s student portal and click on the tutoring icon to fill out a form requesting help. The tutoring staff will connect students virtually to statewide tutors in their subject areas.

Something that is not changing is the commitment to students.

“Career Services is always here to help students, pandemic or not,” said Hunter Henry, a Career Services associate at the Williamson County campus. “From our side of things, students can feel safe in knowing that we can do practically all of our work with them without needing to be in the same room. On top of that, we still have employers hungry for the kinds of skills we teach here at TSTC.”

Registration for the fall semester is underway.

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

 

TSTC Student Receives National AAMI Scholarship

(WACO, Texas) – A Texas State Technical College student has received a scholarship from the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation. 

Joseph Rowan of Waco has been awarded the AAMI Foundation Michael J. Miller Scholarship. He is a TSTC candidate for graduation this month and will earn associate degrees in Biomedical Equipment Technology and Medical Imaging Systems Technology Specialization. 

“TSTC has been a blessing,” Rowan said. “It’s changed my life.”

Victor Fowler, an instructor in TSTC’s Medical Imaging Systems Technology Specialization program, taught Rowan in some of his classes.

“Students like Joseph really help to raise the bar in class and give many other students a leader to which they can look up and try to be like,” Fowler said. “He pays attention and listens very well and therefore quickly understands the concepts being taught, which becomes very evident by the way he excels in hands-on labs.”

Rowan spent six years as a KC-135 aircraft mechanic in the U.S. Air Force. After he left the military, he attended Tarrant County College and Texas A&M University, and discovered an interest in biological science and health care. But after taking nursing classes at Texas A&M, Rowan had a change of mind about his career path.

“At TAMU, the pressure and pace of nursing school led me into the uneasy feeling of an identity crisis,” Rowan wrote in his scholarship essay. “At my foundation, I was a military-trained aircraft mechanic with an aptitude and desire to work in health care. As I carefully audited my skills and needs that fall in 2018, I discovered a place where my two selves converged: the field of health care technology.”

He shadowed in the clinical engineering department at CHI St. Joseph Health Regional Hospital in Bryan to see what the work was like. He enrolled in spring 2019 at TSTC.

“I have discovered the fulfillment that I was missing,” Rowan wrote in his scholarship essay. “Another way I am finding contentment is by tutoring other students in the program who struggle to understand the technical theory, hands-on application or medical connection. Each day I attend my classes eager to learn from my instructors as I move one step closer to graduating and starting my new career.”

Rowan will start later this month as a medical imaging field service engineer for Hitachi Healthcare Americas in Salt Lake City. He will work from home and specialize in maintaining the company’s MRI machines and CT scanners in Utah, with occasional work in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

Rowan has his sights set on bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the future, along with moving up in a leadership role in his company.

“I believe that health care technology has many needs,” Rowan wrote in his scholarship essay. “I hope to bring my wisdom, knowledge and perseverance into the field to lead and inspire other professionals in the challenge of adapting and meeting these needs.”

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

TSTC Ready to Welcome Students Back This Fall in Marshall

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Students attending Texas State Technical College’s Marshall campus will see differences in how they learn and interact as they start the fall semester on Monday, Aug. 31.

Nathan Cleveland, TSTC’s associate provost, said students will notice lots of signage pertaining to campus health and safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students will also see directional signs for building entrances and exits.

Furniture has been removed from popular gathering spots for students in the Administration Building and South Building.

“It is hard to manage and watch over that to where they are minding their spacing,” Cleveland said.

One of the biggest changes is how classes will be taught, which first began being modified in mid-March.

The college’s first-semester college readiness class and academic courses will be taught online.

Programs that will be taught in an all-online format are Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology, Business Management Technology, Computer Networking and Systems Administration, Computer Programming Technology and Cybersecurity.

“The instructors are actually holding virtual classrooms through Google Meet or Webex, so the students have a class they meet for,” Cleveland said.

Programs that will be taught in a hybrid format are Automation and Controls Technology, Diesel Equipment Technology, Electrical Lineworker Technology, Industrial Systems, Precision Machining Technology, Process Operations and Welding Technology.

Tutoring will be available virtually. Students will need to go to TSTC’s student portal and click on the tutoring icon to fill out a form requesting help. Tutoring staff will connect students virtually to statewide tutors in their subject area.

Cleveland said students can come to campus by appointment when needed to meet with instructors. Faculty members will also have virtual office hours. Campus visitors will only be allowed in the Administration Building.

The campus bookstore will be fully operational only for the campus community. Discussions continue about whether to open, even partially, the campus Learning Resource Center. Cleveland said students can use the campus Wi-Fi from their vehicles parked near the buildings.

Students will encounter a different campus residential experience this fall.

“Campus housing will be following statewide protocols, with social distancing and no visitation during COVID-19,” said TSTC’s Director II of Student Life Hubert Staten. “We plan to use email, texting and phone to communicate during this time. Online activities are planned also. We want to keep housing as safe as possible.”

One thing that has not changed is the college’s commitment to its students.

TSTC’s Career Services will hold weekly online workshops for students to learn about a range of subjects, from resume writing to interview skills.

“The interview practicum and the Industry Job Fair for the fall semester will be virtual,” said Hannah Luce, Career Services’ director of planning and special events. “As of now, we will be on campus from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursdays, and this is subject to change at any time, but we will still be available virtually anytime the students need assistance.”

Registration for the fall semester continues.

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

TSTC Welding Technology Program in Marshall Ready to Welcome Students This Fall

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Welding Technology program will continue to teach in a hybrid format this fall. Students will listen to lectures online and participate in hands-on labs on campus.

“Welding is by far one of our most popular programs, and it’s easy to see why,” said Barton Day, provost at TSTC’s Marshall campus. “Employment opportunities remain strong. The starting pay is terrific. And let’s face it, it’s truly an art form. If you have a creative side, this might be right up your alley.”

The campus offers a structural welding certificate, and this fall it will debut a structural and pipe welding certificate.

“I think the advanced pipe course is going to make this one of the most productive semesters ever,” said Philip Miller, a TSTC Welding Technology program instructor. “I am excited to see our returning students take the skills they have learned to new levels.”

Monica Pfarr, executive director of the American Welding Society Foundation in Miami, said the skill sets in high demand in Texas are gas metal arc welding and gas tungsten arc welding. She said most welding jobs in Texas are in the architectural and structural metals manufacturing sector.

“We are doing all we can to promote the careers in the industry,” Pfarr said. “It’s not just welders, but also technicians, inspectors and engineers are in high demand. We are doing what we can to really change the perception of the occupation.”

There is a demand for workers to fill welding jobs in East Texas. Rush Harris, director of business services at the Marshall Economic Development Corp., said pipeline companies, manufacturers and small metal facilities need welders and millwrights.

“Employment for welders is relatively stable, with a slight overall decline of -0.3% yearly over the next 10 years,” Harris said. “The replacement of exits and transfers will be important to maintain an adequate welder demand in the labor force over the next 10 years.”

Harris said there is a need now for more than 200 welders within a 45-minute radius of Marshall. The average annual wage for welders in the area is at least $43,000, he said.

As of this writing, Indeed.com showed that Worley in Longview had job openings for a structural welder, a pipefitter and a pipefitter helper. The Australia-based company specializes in construction, engineering and procurement for the chemical, mining, minerals and power sectors.

“We continue to see growth in the demand for craft professionals,” said Carol Peters, Worley’s external communications and media manager. “However, qualified welders remain hard to find. Collaborative partnerships with academia, government, contractors and business owners are crucial in building a solid base of skilled workers for the future. The time to accelerate training is now.”

The company has adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing the use of technology in its hiring process, improving communication processes with employees and their families, and using an online project-staffing system that publishes internal and external employment opportunities.

Texas had more than 50,000 workers earning an annual mean wage of more than $46,000 in May 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Woodlands-Houston-Sugar Land area had the highest concentration of workers in the state with more than 18,000, while the Longview area had more than 1,000 workers.

Jobs for welders, cutters, solderers and brazers are projected to rise to more than 439,000 up to 2028, according to the labor bureau. This is attributed to repairs being made to the nation’s infrastructure and construction on pipelines and power generation facilities.

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

TSTC Welding Technology Program Ready to Fill Jobs

(WACO, Texas) – The health protocols undertaken in Texas State Technical College’s Welding Technology program are not only keeping students safe, but also teaching a lesson.

Program faculty have designated entrances and exits for TSTC’s Industrial Technology Center, along with enacting social distancing, sanitizing and requiring masks. These measures will continue during the fall semester, which is scheduled to begin Monday, Aug. 31.

“The word is getting out that no matter how you will be learning about welding, this is the way you will be learning in the field,” said Jerome Mendias, TSTC’s associate provost.

The Welding Technology program will continue to teach in a hybrid format. Students will use Moodle for online lessons, quizzes and tests and do hands-on labs on campus.

Beginning this fall, the program will offer a three-class Occupational Skills Award in Basic Welding – Multiple Processes. The classes will take four months to complete, enabling students to go into the job market with new skills.

The OSA is one way to meet the employment needs of Texas.

“It is fast-paced,” said Carl Wilmeth, a lead instructor in TSTC’s Welding Technology program. “Nontraditional students that do not have the extra time can come in and get 15 weeks of training, get what they need and start doing job interviews.”

Monica Pfarr, executive director of the American Welding Society Foundation, said the skill sets in highest demand in Texas are gas metal arc welding and gas tungsten arc welding. She said the most welding jobs in Texas are in the architectural and structural metals manufacturing sector.

“We are doing all we can to promote the careers in the industry,” Pfarr said. “It’s not just welders, but also technicians, inspectors and engineers are in high demand. We are doing what we can to really change the perception of the occupation.”

Scott Kitchen, an apprenticeship coordinator for Iron Workers Local Union 66 in San Antonio, said workers who are good at shielded metal arc welding are in demand throughout Central Texas.

Kitchen said the union can work with new members to develop and improve their welding skills. The goal is for all members to earn American Welding Society-backed certifications and endorsements to progress in the workplace.

Texas had more than 50,000 workers earning an annual mean wage of more than $46,000 in May 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Woodlands-Houston-Sugar Land area had the highest concentration of workers in the state with more than 18,000, while the Waco area had more than 400 workers.

Jobs for welders, cutters, solderers and brazers are projected to rise to more than 439,000 up to 2028, according to the labor bureau. This is being attributed to repairing the nation’s infrastructure and helping to build pipelines and power generation facilities.

“It is an excellent time to consider welding,” Kitchen said. “A lot of the other welders are retiring.”

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

TSTC Cybersecurity Program Ready to Teach New Students This Fall

(HUTTO, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Cybersecurity program at the Williamson County campus is shifting all teaching and labs online this fall.

The prospect of reaching prospective students in the Austin area and beyond to teach them about computer systems forensics, digital forensics, routers and other topics is proving exciting to Joshua Schier, the program’s lead instructor.

“When winds of change are blowing, the best thing you can do is accept it and adapt to the current condition,” he said. “And as the year of the coronavirus has put many of us in this situation, it does not have to be all doom and gloom. This is actually a fantastic opportunity. The obvious step for us was to enhance and improve our online teaching methodologies and curriculum.”

Doug Peters, a TSTC Cybersecurity instructor, said students taking classes online can help themselves adjust to doing the remote work that a lot of them could encounter in  the workplace. He said creating accountability will be a component of all classes, from gathering at regular times online to turning homework in on time.

New to the program this fall will be a one-semester Occupational Skills Award in Basic Cybersecurity consisting of three classes. The student can complete this in four months.

“This will fast-track Texans into entry-level roles in a new career or provide specialized training for Texans to advance in their current field,” Schier said.

Cara DiMattina-Ryan, chief strategy officer for Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area in Cedar Park, said Burnet, Caldwell and Llano counties, along with other rural counties in Central Texas, are increasing broadband capability for residents. She said this could drive more people to study cybersecurity and other programs online and hopefully make it possible for them to work in their home counties.

Brian Hernandez, Workforce Solutions’ communications director, said there are more than 800 network and computer systems administrator jobs open and more than 500 information security analyst positions open in the agency’s 10-county area.

“The more certifications you add on, the more you increase your value and demand for services,” he said. “We would much rather develop our local workforce to move them from under-employment to gainful employment.”

Schier said the key to Williamson County’s Cybersecurity graduates getting good-paying jobs in the region is by word of mouth. He cited Contigo Technology in Austin as an example of an area company that has hired TSTC program graduates. 

DiMattina-Ryan said Workforce Solutions has found several California tech companies are starting to consider moving to Texas, specifically the Greater Austin area.

“As that increases, that will also increase job potential and diversify those skills that we need in these kinds of cyber areas and these information technology fields in general,” she said.

Texas had more than 10,400 information security analysts earning an annual mean wage of $108,810 in May 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Austin-Round Rock area employed more than 1,500 information security analysts making an annual mean wage of $114,280 in May 2019, according to the agency.

The need for information security analysts is expected to rise to more than 147,000 through 2028, according to the agency. The need for workers is attributed to companies having to fight sophisticated hackers in order to protect sensitive information.

“If you are interested in this kind of field, I think it is the absolutely right time to explore,” DiMattina-Ryan said. “What a great profession you can do all online. COVID-19 is changing the landscape of how we are doing business and how we are looking at business.”

TSTC’s Cybersecurity programs at the Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas and Waco campuses also will move online this fall. The online Digital Forensics Specialist advanced technical certificate will expand to these campuses, including Williamson County.

Registration for the fall semester is underway.

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

TSTC to Welcome Students to Several Night Classes This Fall

(RED OAK, Texas) – Students interested in learning in the evenings this fall can pursue a range of technical programs at Texas State Technical College’s North Texas campus.

The Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology program’s daytime and evening students can finish a certificate in three semesters or an associate degree in five semesters.  

“The main reason I am offering night classes in the fall is to provide a service to the possible students that have to work during the day,” said Douglas McCuen, lead instructor of TSTC’s HVAC Technology program. “Evening students would not be able to attend any other way.”

The Precision Machining Technology programs will also offer night classes. Lyle Guinn, a program instructor, said this could allow for more daytime internship opportunities for students.

Students can also work at night in three programs that are shifting to an all-online format in the fall. The programs are Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology, Computer Networking and Systems Administration, and Cybersecurity.

“I think as we learn how to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are going to be people who are underemployed and finding themselves wanting to do more in this new economy,” said Marcus Balch, TSTC’s campus provost. “By having the day and evening class options, we are certainly flexible around work schedules or providing those upscale opportunities as we help build the economy of Texas.”

TSTC will use a hybrid format for programs this fall, with some classes being taught online and others using an in-person and online learning combination. Each program will follow campus and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention safety guidelines.

Registration for the fall semester is underway.

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

Area Banks Contribute to TSTC Scholarship

(WACO, Texas) – Four Central Texas banks recently made contributions to Texas State Technical College’s Helping Hands Scholarship in Waco.

American Bank, Central National Bank, Community Bank and Trust, and First National Bank of Central Texas each contributed $10,000 to help students in need.

Bill Nesbitt, chairman and chief executive officer of Central National Bank, said TSTC is an outstanding example of accountability.

“The key to our relationship with TSTC is a real strong respect for TSTC’s approach to education,” he said. “They have connected the funds that they request and receive from the state of Texas to the job they do preparing students for employment, and the better job they do, the more they get paid.”

Dan Ingham, vice president of marketing and communications at First National Bank of Central Texas, said the bank believes in giving support locally.

“We are big believers in TSTC and what they do for this community,” he said. “We see the impact with the bank and our employees, some of whom are TSTC graduates, and the customers in our community.”

Pete Rowe, vice president of development for The TSTC Foundation, said the banks acknowledge the economic benefits TSTC brings to the region and state.

“Higher wages for trained technology workers and a more trained workforce mean a greater impact on the local economy,” Rowe said. “The banks are able to help many students who are at financial risk to maintain their place and ensure that they get a degree and experience a productive career.”

The Helping Hands Scholarship is a short-term solution for students who have nonacademic financial problems preventing them from completing classes. Students who need assistance can talk to their enrollment coaches to begin the application process.

For more information on giving to TSTC, go to https://www.tstc.edu/tstcfoundation/giving/.

TSTC HVAC Technology Program Receives Equipment Gift

(RED OAK, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s North Texas campus has received an equipment gift from a Mansfield business.

Century A/C Supply has donated a 25-ton York package unit valued at $15,000 to the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology program.

“I was not going to sell it, and I figured I would donate it for a good cause,” said Eric Huddleston, the company’s branch manager.

HVAC Technology students will use the package unit to understand the concept of three-phase wiring and how to troubleshoot three-phase motors.

Rusty Hicks, The TSTC Foundation’s corporate development officer, said the gift signifies the college’s area-wide reach. 

“We are trying to get the word out all over, not just in Ellis County, but all over the Dallas-Fort Worth area,” he said. “We are seeing some really good results. As long as you have good business partners like Century A/C that understand what we are doing and can donate in-kind, they too — like so many of our employers that hire our students — can see the visible results.”

Douglas McCuen, lead instructor of TSTC’s HVAC Technology program, said Huddleston reached out to him earlier this year about the package unit. McCuen said he is grateful for the equipment.

“He was even kind enough to deliver the equipment to our campus,” McCuen said. “He even had the forethought to have the delivery person bring fork extensions so we could use them on the campus forklift.”

For more information on how to make a gift to TSTC, go to https://www.tstc.edu/tstcfoundation/giving/.