Author Archives: Daniel Perry

TSTC Hosts School Counselor Update

(HUTTO, Texas) – More than 20 counselors from school districts in Williamson County attended on Friday the Counselor Update hosted by Texas State Technical College’s East Williamson County campus.

The gathering was at the East Williamson County Higher Education Center in Hutto and included tours of TSTC’s Culinary Arts, Cybersecurity and Precision Machining Technology programs. Attendees also learned about TSTC’s admission requirements, funding formula and recruitment efforts.

Kari Schroeder, a counselor at Taylor High School, said she was glad to learn more about TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee that enables program-enrolled graduates to receive their tuition money back if they do not have a job within six months after graduation. The eligible programs are Diesel Equipment Technology, Electrical Lineworker Technology, Electrical Power and Controls, Instrumentation Technology and Welding Technology.

“I feel like for me that gave me a glimpse of the actual jobs they are being placed in before or at graduation,” Schroeder said.

Travis Clark, career and technical education coordinator for the Hutto Independent School District, said he was impressed with the Cybersecurity program’s labs.

Clark said some of the challenges in career and technical education include getting students and parents to understand there is financial aid available to pursue an array of college options. He said teachers and counselors need to help students figure out what can work best with the skills they have.

Attendees heard from an early afternoon panel made up of representatives from National Oilwell Varco in Cedar Park, the Texas Workforce Commission and Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area. Representatives talked about ways they provide support in developing Texas’ workforce.

The event was a way to thank counselors for encouraging students to attend TSTC, said Viña Asayas, a TSTC student recruitment coordinator.

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

Waco Transit System Offers Free Rides to TSTC Students

(WACO, Texas) – Current students at Texas State Technical College can now ride on the Waco Transit System’s fixed routes for free.

TSTC students can get a personalized TSTC/Waco Transit identification card at the campus Student Services Center to begin riding.

“TSTC has partnered with Waco Transit for years to provide service to our campus, but this arrangement expands the service for our students to ride any fixed route on Waco Transit at no cost,” said Adam Hutchison, TSTC’s provost for the Waco campus. “Some of our students don’t have access to reliable transportation on their own, and now they can use Waco Transit anywhere in the city — not just TSTC — for free.”

TSTC is included on Waco Transit’s Route 5, which includes stops at H-E-B, Walmart and the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. Students can ride on any of the transportation system’s 10 routes encompassing all parts of Waco and some locations spread out in McLennan County.

“We do our best to hit all the time points,” said Joseph Dvorsky, Waco Transit’s director of service development. “We have major construction going on with Interstate 35, and what we do is we detour routes to keep them on time.”

Waco Transit uses a flag-stop system for its routes, which means people can flag down buses to be picked up along fixed routes. Dvorsky said bus drivers can pick up riders if they are on the correct side of the street and if there are not traffic-flow issues.

Waco Transit had 1.3 million unlinked passenger trips in 2018, according to Dvorsky. 

To see Waco Transit’s bus routes, go to waco-texas.com/transit/routes.asp or download the Ride Systems app on a smartphone.

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

Groesbeck Students Look to TSTC for Career Goals

(WACO, Texas) – Jake Pringle and Fernando Venegas have known each other for as long as they can remember.

They grew up together attending Groesbeck schools and now are attending Texas State Technical College’s Waco campus where they are in the Welding Technology program. Pringle is working toward a certificate, and Venegas is studying for an associate degree.

“It’s the best welding program in Texas,” Pringle said.

Pringle was inspired to pursue welding because his father has oil field work experience. Venegas said he developed an interest in welding in high school.

The students said stick welding is their favorite. And, they both said they do better with hands-on learning.

Pringle and Venegas are joined by at least 10 other students from Groesbeck attending TSTC this semester. Other programs the students are studying include Biomedical Equipment Technology, Computer Networking and Systems Administration, and Cybersecurity.

All students in the Groesbeck Independent School District get their hands on technology. Students in pre-kindergarten use school district-issued iPads, while students in kindergarten to 12th grade use school district-issued laptops.

“It is a piece of what we do every day,” said Diana Freeman, assistant superintendent of the Groesbeck Independent School District. “We do this because when they go to work, wherever they go to work, they are going to have to be able to do some kind of technology.”

The school district has a strong history in teaching agriculture and welding.

“For us, everybody starts in agriculture, and then you kind of make your choice whether you want to study animals, plants or welding,” said Freeman.

The school district has had 17 high school seniors graduate with an American Welding Society certification, Freeman said. The school district also offers career and technical education classes in business, culinary arts, construction, graphic design and health science.

Groesbeck High School has two counselors, with one dedicated to the career and technical education needs of its more than 400 students.

“TSTC is a place you can go and get that certificate or associate degree — you can get that training to go out and get a job you can do well with,” Freeman said.

After graduating from TSTC, Pringle wants to weld on power lines and will go  wherever there is a good job. Venegas said he wants to do pipeline work after graduation.

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

TSTC’s Waco Campus Has New FAA Designated Mechanic Examiner

(WACO, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Waco campus is now home to a Federal Aviation Administration designated mechanic examiner (DME).

Carl Stutsman, a TSTC aviation maintenance instructor, attended an FAA training school in Oklahoma City in late 2018 and was officially notified this summer about his DME status.

“To have a DME on staff means the graduates have the option of going to the DME that is right here so they don’t have to travel farther,” Stutsman said.

Stutsman can only work in the FAA’s North Texas Flight Standards District Office (FSDO)  encompassing a portion of northeast Texas. The state’s other FSDO’s are based in Houston, Lubbock and San Antonio.

He does his FAA work after 5 p.m. on days he is teaching and on weekends. He said teaching aviation maintenance courses is still his top priority at TSTC.

“I love aviation. And for me what keeps me teaching is taking a student who has a haze over their eyes and they struggle to understand, and the light bulb turns on and their eyes are bright and they understand,” Stutsman said. “That is a thrill.”

Stutsmanis obligated to test any aviation maintenance graduate as long as they have permission from their FSDO. People who pass the FAA’s testing receive temporary certification, with the FAA issuing permanent certificates to become aviation mechanics.

“They should expect to receive their permanent certificates in about 120 days,” Stutsman said. “As long as they continually work on aircraft and are signing off on aircraft at least six months out of the past 24, they are good.”

Adam Hutchison, TSTC’s provost for the Waco campus, said the DME certification means the FAA is affirming Stutsman’s judgment and professionalism to help certify the next generation of workers.

“It confirms what TSTC students have known for years, and that is Mr. Stutsman trains men and women to perform the highest-quality service to keep aircraft operating safely,” Hutchison said.

Robert Capps, TSTC’s statewide chair of the aviation maintenance department, said having Stutsman’s role on campus means another marketability option for attracting students.

“It lowers the barriers for our students to get this certification done,” he said.

Stutsman had previous experience as a designated mechanic examiner in Colorado, where he administered more than 200 oral and practical exams.

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

Austin Company Finds Quality Employees at TSTC

(HUTTO, Texas) – Tucked among a cluster of brick buildings on Research Boulevard in Austin is a technology company that has found a source for employees in Central Texas.

Contigo Technology has looked to Texas State Technical College’s East Williamson County campus to fill Cybersecurity jobs. And, the company wants to hire more employees.

“Contigo is a great opportunity for our students,” said Joshua Schier, an instructor in TSTC’s Cybsersecurity program. “They are a fantastic employer offering great pay and benefits for entry-level positions. And, they are putting students in a position to succeed and grow with the company.”

Some of the skills students in TSTC’s Cybersecurity program learn include intrusion detection, Linux installation, and server virtualization and intrusion. The program’s goal is to give students a foundation of knowledge in networking and networking security.

“Many of the students have done projects and assignments together as a team while in school,” Schier said. “They developed friendships and team-building skills while here at TSTC, and that is being carried over into their work environment at Contigo.”

The company has 22 employees who work with clients using Microsoft platforms. Fuller said a majority of the company’s work is preventive maintenance, while project work is also undertaken.

“Everyone has a role to play,” said Bryan Fuller, president of Contigo Technology. “Everyone is being taken care of as long as the customer is taken care of.”

Travis Hoffmeister played baseball and graduated from Texas Tech University before finding his way to TSTC’s Cybersecurity program. He said attending TSTC gave him more focus for his career. He said a hiring company recommended that he give Contigo Technology a look when he was job searching.

He is a project engineer who migrates data and email between hosts at the company.

“I’m happy with it,” Hoffmeister said about his job. “I didn’t know what to do outside of Texas Tech. At TSTC, it was a broad curriculum. It helped me see a wide swath of fields to get into.”

Kyle Banks and Isabelle Pomeroy are remote operator technicians at the company. The two had classes together at TSTC and graduated a semester apart from the Cybersecurity program.

“We are the main contacts when it comes to issues with the clients and with their devices or technical questions,” Banks said. “We troubleshoot and get them fixed.”

Pomeroy said she enjoys her job because she discovers and figures out problems for customers.

Javier Bustos is a candidate for graduation for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Cybsersecurity at TSTC in December. He has worked part time since May, troubleshooting and setting up customers’ computers.

“TSTC has hooked me up with a job, which is awesome,” said Bustos, who grew up in Manor.

Bustos said he does not have a problem asking for help from his co-workers when needed.

“I really enjoy it,” he said. “At first it was intimidating. It was my first exposure to a business environment with information technology.”

Fuller said the quality of life for his employees is important. Company employees work in staggered shifts to manage Austin’s traffic. There are also opportunities for employees to work from their homes.

“I don’t want turnover,” Fuller said. “I try to make it a fun environment. I require them to be good at what they do.”

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

TSTC Expanding Night Classes for Programs

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Marshall campus is expanding its offering of night classes for students.

The Industrial Systems – Electrical Specialization program will have its first night cohort starting in January for the spring semester. Students will attend classes two nights a week and during the day on Saturdays.

Nathan Cleveland, TSTC’s associate provost in Marshall, said the program was selected because of industry demand.

“We have more requests to fill jobs than we currently have graduates,” he said.  “For a nontraditional student that is working, they can come in the evenings and they can move up further in their job at their current employer.”

The first program to offer night classes on campus, Precision Machining Technology, is thriving this semester and will offer a second night cohort in January.  

Danny Nixon, a Precision Machining Technology instructor, said more than half of the 12 students in the program this semester work full time during the day and attend classes four nights a week. The students range in age from 19 to 33, Nixon said.

“They are so mature and willing to learn and attentive,” he said.

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

TSTC Hosts Industry Job Fair in Marshall

(MARSHALL, Texas) – About 150 Texas State Technical College students met potential employers from Texas and throughout the nation on Thursday at its semiannual Industry Job Fair on the Marshall campus.

Attendees talked to representatives from about 30 companies set up at tables in the South Building. Some of the companies were seeking students interested in jobs as diesel technicians, fleet management supervisors, industrial painters and powerplant operators.

Cheyenne Riordon, a regional recruiter for Equipment Depot in Irving, said it was the company’s first time at the Marshall event. She was interested in talking to Diesel Equipment Technology students about forklift mechanic positions. The materials handling and equipment rental company’s only East Texas location is in Longview.

“I just want to get our name out there,” Riordon said. 

TrinityRail, which is headquartered in Dallas and has locations in Hallsville and Longview, was interested in insulators, paint preparers and welders.

“The employees that come out of TSTC are ready to start their careers and are very moldable,” said Hunter Hembrough, a TrinityRail talent acquisition specialist. “They are ready to work.”

Students asked questions and clutched company brochures as they explored the event’s information tables.

Dakota Smith, a Welding Technology student from Gladewater, is scheduled to graduate in December from TSTC. She said she talked to as many employers as possible and liked what she heard.

“I’m keeping a clear head about it,” she said. “I will go wherever the job is as long as it is a good fit.”

Lucas Wilson, an Industrial Systems – Electrical Specialization student from Mount Enterprise, attended his first campus Industry Job Fair. He said he was interested in internship opportunities but also wanted to see what East Texas companies are looking for.

“I am here to network and get my name out there,” Wilson said. “A lot of the companies are looking for industrial maintenance.”

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

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TSTC Welding Technology Graduates in Demand in East Texas

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Welding Technology students are finding a need for their skills regionally and throughout the country.

The demand for brazers, cutters, solderers and welders is projected to increase up to 439,100 workers by 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The agency attributes this to replacing the country’s aging infrastructure, as well as the construction of new natural gas and oil pipelines and power generation facilities.

Many of TSTC’s Welding Technology graduates like to work near their hometowns, said Philip Miller, a TSTC Welding Technology instructor.

“As for being work-ready, we train them to work like they are already out in the workforce, showing up on time, being ready to start the day, having a good attitude. And we also inform them on the right and wrong for workplace conduct,” he said.

Smith Tank & Equipment Co. in Tyler hired one of TSTC’s summer Welding Technology graduates. James Blair III, the company’s president, said he likes TSTC’s students because they understand the hands-on skills and theory of welding.

“Getting good candidates for employment has been an ongoing challenge in some years more than others,” said Blair. “When the oil field is good, it is harder to get them. Everyone is busy.”

Blair said female welders can make a valuable contribution to the industry.  

“Women tend to be very good workers,” he said. “Women tend to focus a little more than the guys.”

Warfab Inc. in Hallsville and Longview hired a graduate of TSTC’s Welding Technology program earlier this year. The company specializes in forging-press work, heavy equipment, manufacturing and specialty welding services.

David Ocheltree, Warfab’s human resources manager, said the company looks for welders who have a combination of fabrication shop and field experience. He said while fabrication work is high quality, field work involves getting dirty and lifting heavy equipment.

“We take all forms of experience coming in here,” Ocheltree said. “We have some that come in with absolutely no experience whatsoever, to the person who has 20-plus years of welding. The person that comes in and wants to work at Warfab comes in as a cleaner or has a few tools, and we bring them in as a helper. They can work under an apprenticeship-type aspect.”

TSTC’s Marshall campus offers a Structural Welding certificate.

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

TSTC Hosts Industry Job Fair in Waco

(WACO, Texas) – More than 1,000 Texas State Technical College students met potential employers from Texas and throughout the nation on Thursday at its semiannual Industry Job Fair on the Waco campus.

Students lined up to register about a half hour before the 9 a.m. start of the event at the Murray Watson Jr. Student Recreation Center. Inside, students were treated to more than 100 companies looking to fill job, including those for aviation mechanics, electricians, materials handlers and plumbers.

Kirby-Smith Machinery Inc., which has locations throughout Texas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, has attended several of TSTC’s employment events. The company was looking for talented diesel technicians.

“We are building goodwill with the college and community,” said Seth McColley, Kirby-Smith Machinery’s vice president of human resources. “We want to make sure we have a good presence.”

Representatives of Niagara Bottling Co. visited to recruit electrical, mechatronics and robotics technology workers in anticipation of its $90 million bottling and distribution plant opening later this year in Temple.

Danny Weckstein, a company manufacturing technology manager based in Ohio, said he travels throughout the country to college recruitment events. He said students coming to work for the company bring a fresh perspective on how machines operate.

Some TSTC alumni returned to campus to recruit.

Zachary Rickard, a 2017 graduate of TSTC’s Building Construction Technology program, is an assistant superintendent at MW Builders in Pflugerville. He has traveled throughout Texas and Kansas to work on the company’s commercial projects. He said his job includes keeping up with work schedules, doing some hands-on work and keeping workers on task.

Rickard said it felt good being back on campus.

“TSTC has had a major impact for me in starting from nothing to what I’m doing now,” he said.

Kyle Brinkman, an electrical computer-aided design drafter at Black & Veatch in College Station, graduated in 2011 from TSTC’s Architectural Drafting and Design program. He said going to TSTC was the right fit for him because he wanted to save money and get a good education.

Brinkman’s goal was to tell attendees about the company’s work in consulting, construction engineering and procurement for the manufacturing, telecommunications, and oil and gas fields. 

Students asked questions, clutched company brochures and handed out resumes to business representatives.

MIranda Rodriguez, an Industrial Systems major from Robinson, said she enjoyed talking to company representatives. It was her first time attending TSTC’s Industry Job Fair.

“It is very encouraging that the stuff we learn today in our classes is what the companies need,” she said. “It’s a good feeling.”

Garrett Crawford, an Instrumentation Technology major from Troy, attended his third TSTC Industry Job Fair. 

“It’s a broad view of what is out there,” he said. “It’s opening my eyes.”

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

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.