Author Archives: Amanda Sotelo Sotelo

Texas Land Commissioner Emphasizes Value of TSTC

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush toured the Texas State Technical College campus in Fort Bend County on Wednesday, June 26, to learn not only about technical education, but also how TSTC and its students contribute to the Texas economy and meet industry demand for skilled technicians.

Bush visited with students and faculty and toured some of the college’s most in-demand programs, including Electrical Lineworker, Electrical Power and Controls, Environmental Technology – Compliance, and Industrial Maintenance.

The four technologies are among 10 taught at TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus.

The commissioner joined an Electrical Lineworker class in the college’s pole yard, where he suited up in lineworker gear, was coached on proper climbing technique, and even ascended several feet on an electrical pole.Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush visits TSTC

Once back on the ground, he stressed the importance of technical education to the Texas workforce.

“We’re training the future leaders of tomorrow right here on campus, and so I’m excited to spend some time and learn more about what they’re up to at TSTC,” Bush said. “We all need to check out what we’re doing to connect to the jobs of tomorrow and take care of the workforce challenges that we see out there in the greater state of Texas. In order to keep business coming here, we need to continue to train the workforce of tomorrow, and it’s all happening right here at TSTC.”

Earlier this year, Bush dedicated 2019 to “A Conversation With Our Future,” engaging with students, parents and teachers across the state. As part of this initiative, he has toured all types of educational institutions.

A former schoolteacher himself, Bush is the third elected official in recent months to tour the Fort Bend County campus. Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Pete Olson each visited the new campus to promote technical education in Texas.

With 80 acres to grow on and its proximity to Houston, TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus someday could comprise from six to eight buildings with the capacity to support 5,000 students.

Besides Fort Bend County, TSTC trains technicians in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood, East Williamson County, Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater and Waco, as well as online and through dual-credit courses for high school students.

TSTC offers associate degrees and certificate options in many in-demand technologies. Whether upgrading their abilities or just starting out on new career paths, TSTC graduates are highly valued by business and industry for their work ethic, knowledge and workplace skills.

Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. For more information, log on to tstc.edu.

TSTC meets statewide nursing shortage demands

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – With the aging of baby boomers and with a population with an overall longer life span, the need for health care services is growing, increasing the demand for vocational nurses.TSTC Vocational Nursing

According to the U.S. Bureau Labor Statistics, vocational nursing is projected to grow faster than any other occupation by 2026.

Texas State Technical College Vocational Nursing Director Heather Sauceda said TSTC recognizes that demand, especially with the current shortage in the Rio Grande Valley and across Texas, and is working to fill that skills gap.

And with a job placement rate of 100 percent and a National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) pass rate of 96 percent, TSTC students are well-prepared vocational nurses who are well-rounded, hold patient care as a priority and practice compassionate nursing.

Sauceda explains the skills and technology behind training for the future of vocational nursing.

What is the length of the program?

After the completion of the four required prerequisite courses: Anatomy and Physiology I & II, Nutrition and Medical Terminology, the program is one full year.

What certificates and/or associate degrees are offered?

When students complete the vocational nursing program, they receive a certificate of completion. At this time they will be eligible to sit for the NCLEX (national testing) and upon passing will receive their vocational nursing license for the state of Texas.

What skills do you learn in the vocational nursing program?

The training for vocational nursing students starts the first semester while students are still taking their pre-requisite courses. The knowledge gained is then translated and applied to nursing procedures, pharmacology and disease processes. They also learn soft skills such as communication, time management and organization. Students’ scope of practice skills training will range from basic patient bed making and patient transfers to blood draws, IVs and wound care.

What types of technology are used to learn these skills?

A collection of computer technology software is used to give students online resources for testing, tutorials, case studies, training modules and clinical simulations. The program also has skills labs that include basic mannequins for first-level students to begin implementing their physical assessments and soft skills and then advance to state-of-the-art simulation labs that have high-fidelity mannequins to simulate a real clinical area.

How does learning these skills help prepare the student for the workforce?

As stated by the Texas Board of Nursing, the duty of a licensed vocational nurse is to always provide safe, compassionate and focused nursing care to patients. And, TSTC ensures that students are providing just that by setting expectations high and implementing theory into clinical hands-on training so that upon completion graduates are prepared to enter the workforce and secure employment.

Who is hiring graduates from this program?

Local hospitals such as Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen, Harlingen Medical Center and Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg hire a number of TSTC’s Vocational Nursing graduates. Nursing homes, home health care centers, schools and medical offices also hire program graduates.

TSTC Dental Hygiene class achieves testing success

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – The Spring 2019 Dental Hygiene class at Texas State Technical College has made the college proud by earning not one, but two, 100 percent pass rates on their national board and clinical exams.

“This is something very difficult to do,” said Victoria Martin, TSTC Dental Hygiene instructor. “The boards are a challenging exam, critical to a graduate’s licensure. And I’m extremely proud of this class. They worked really hard for this.”

The class, made of up 27 students, is one of the larger classes to individually and collectively achieve passing grades on the national tests. Martin said it is extremely rare to have this many students achieve a 100 percent pass rate on both tests.

The two exams students must tackle are: the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and the Western Regional Examining Board (WREB), to be able to work after receiving their associate degree from TSTC’s two-year Dental Hygiene program.

“These tests encompass everything our students have learned throughout their time in the program,” said Martin. “By the time the students take these exams in their last semester, they are ready. We make sure of it.”

The National Board Dental Hygiene Examination determines qualifications of dental hygienists who seek licensure to practice dental hygiene. Everything from basic biomedical and dental sciences to ethics and pharmacology are assessed.TSTC Dental Hygiene Class of 2019

To prepare for this exam, dental hygiene instructors create practice tests formatted similar to board exams, provide board reviews and practice tests.

“All of this preparation is vital to our students’ success. It’s an entire overview that encompasses everything they learn,” said Martin. “Plus, this is an all-day test, with only a break for lunch, we need them to have the stamina. It’s important for them to know the information, but also to know how to take the exam.”

In addition to lecture and test preparation, TSTC Dental Hygiene students also practice direct patient care with the program’s Dental Hygiene Clinic that is open to TSTC faculty, staff and the community.

At the clinic every student has the opportunity to work in a dental setting assessing a patients’ health history, vitals and x-rays to diagnosis and treatment.

“As a dental hygienist they’re in charge of a person’s oral health care and overall physical health, since both have been linked,” said Martin. “And our clinic not only gives them the real-world experience they need, but it helps them get ready to pass the WREB.”

And for the first time this spring, TSTC hosted the WREB, a standardized clinical exam for licensure, on campus for its students and surrounding dental hygiene programs.

In the past TSTC Dental Hygiene students would have to travel with their patients, to either San Antonio or Houston, but since qualifying as a WREB testing center, TSTC students can now take their exam on campus.

“This is a huge deal for us and a huge step forward,” said Martin. “We plan on hosting it annually and we hope more schools closer to our area take advantage of it.”

Spring 2019 Dental Hygiene graduate Noah Degollado said he was not surprised at all to learn that his class had achieved such an accomplishment.

“As a class we worked closely together to help each other out and make sure we were all doing well,” he said. “And our instructors, honestly, over prepared us, if that’s such a thing. They taught us how to be analytical and critical thinkers and because of them we knew what we had to know and what we had to do to succeed.”

The 26-year-old McAllen native said he is grateful for his time at TSTC and to his instructors, to whom he credits for his success.

He received job offers before even taking his national board and clinical exams and is now a dental hygienist for Top Dental and Zen Dental in the Rio Grande Valley.

TSTC’s Dental Hygiene program has seen a job placement rate in the past few years of 100 percent with an average starting salary, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, of $35 an hour.

The program begins accepting applications in January, with the application period ending in March. New cohorts of 30 students begin every Fall Semester.

For more information on Dental Hygiene, visit tstc.edu/programs/DentalHygiene.

TSTC Aircraft Airframe program takes student across the world

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – At a young age Carlos Rodriguez gained a love and passion for traveling, and now at 24-years-old, he will get to do a lot of it because of his new career.

The San Benito native will graduate with a certificate from Texas State Technical College’s Aircraft Airframe Technology program in August and with an associate degree in December.

But before even walking the Harlingen Convention Center stage to accept his certification and degree, he has accepted a job offer with Koenig & Bauer, a German printing press manufacturer known as the oldest in the world still in service, with a location in Dallas.

His first day of work is January 6, 2020.Carlos Rodriguez

“I went into this expecting to begin my career working on aircraft. That’s why I returned to school,” he said. “But in learning the broader scope of everything this program teaches and keeping an open mind, I realized I can pursue any career I want, even out of the aviation industry.”

Expecting a starting salary of about $50,000 a year, the United State Navy veteran, who specialized in aircraft repair and maintenance while serving his country, will soon be working as a printing press service technician.

He will troubleshoot and repair printing presses as a mechanic technician apprentice. After a three-month training period, which includes travel across the United States, he will leave the country to be stationed in Germany.

“Everything that is happening is because of TSTC,” said Rodriguez. “If not for this program and its remarkable instructors I would not have had this opportunity. I received a job offer that I could not refuse and financial security. It’s true, education is power.”

This is a lesson he recently learned after withdrawing from TSTC twice before enrolling as a student in Aircraft Airframe Technology.

“I was lost, undecided and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life,” he said. “That’s why I turned to the military.”

After four years of service and deployments to Asia and the Middle East and getting to see a part of the world, Rodriguez returned home.

He said the transition from military to civilian life was not the easiest, but after a stint with United Airlines and FedEx, and seeing no personal growth, it was the TSTC Veterans Center that helped him get back on track.

“I learned about my program through some guys at work and I saw them advancing,” said Rodriguez. “I was always a guy with so much ambition and I lost it somewhere. So after some reflection, college was my only choice. And it was the Veterans Center that helped me complete my paperwork and discover that I was eligible for my G.I. Bill, Hazlewood Act and federal financial aid to help me pay for college.”

Rodriguez said he comes from a humble background. His dad was born in Mexico and worked in the fields for most of his life. Neither of his parents had an education, until TSTC also helped them prosper.

Rodriguez’s father is a graduate from TSTC’s Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) program and now works as an HVAC technical for the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville.

“My parents have worked hard for their family, and through good and bad times, they have continued to sacrifice and do what’s best for me and my brother,” he said. “My dad always told us that the world was at our hands and he wanted us to see it.”

This advice was given to Rodriguez when he was only five-years-old and his father would take him to the airport, before Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and 911 travel restrictions, to see people board the airplanes and watch them take off.

“This is one of my fondest childhood memories and has shaped me into who I am today,” said Rodriguez. “I’m onto new adventures and I hope that I can represent TSTC and my program well, and make my parents proud of who I have become. Next stop: Germany.”

Aircraft Airframe Technology is also offered at TSTC’s Abilene and Waco campuses.

For more information, visit tstc.edu.

Graduates of TSTC’s EMS program in high demand

(HARLINGEN) – Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) and paramedics are in high demand across the region and the state with a projected growth of 15 percent, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And EMS instructor Ruben Ramirez said Texas State Technical College is working to fill that skills gap because as long as health emergencies, motor vehicle accidents, natural disasters and acts of violence continue to occur, the skills of this profession will continue to be in demand.

Ramirez gives us more information.

What is the length of the program?TSTC EMS Program

The EMT basic program is two semesters, while the paramedic program is four semesters. You must be a licensed EMT basic to enter the paramedic program.

What certificates and/or degrees are offered?

The program offers an EMT basic certificate and a paramedic certificate and associate degree.

What skills do you learn in the EMT basic and paramedic programs?

The EMT basic courses will teach the foundations of patient care and life support, such as CPR, oxygen administration, automated external defibrillator (AED) usage and broken bone or spinal cord stabilization.

Paramedic courses will teach advanced life support skills, medication administration, advanced airway procedures, electrocardiogram (EKG) reading and IV administration.

What types of technology are used to learn these skills?

In addition to being instructed by experienced paramedics who have worked in the field, students will also have access to industry-standard technology such as, I-Simulate and Reality tablets that are programmed to give students real-world medical emergency scenarios, adult and pediatric realistic simulation training mannequins and Demo Dose medication kits to practice medicine administration.

How does learning these skills help prepare the student for the workforce?

The skills learned while enrolled in TSTC’s EMT and paramedic courses will give the student the skills they need to handle an emergency situation, no matter how critical. Every shift and every emergency call will put one, if not more, of these skills to use.

Graduates from this program will also be ready to sit and successfully pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians exam, which will allow the graduate to become state licensed and work anywhere in the United States.

Who is hiring graduates from this program?

Graduates from this program get hired locally with companies such as Willacy County EMS, South Texas Emergency Care EMS, Med-Care EMS, Hidalgo County EMS, Weslaco Fire Department, Brownsville Fire Department, federal agencies such as the United States Border Patrol, hospitals and health care clinics.

TSTC aviation maintenance works to meet local, statewide industry demand

(HARLINGEN) – Texas has become one of the most important locations for the aviation and aerospace industry, and students from Texas State Technical College are getting in on the action as graduates from the college’s Aircraft Airframe Technology and Aircraft Powerplant Technology programs.

TSTC is one of about a dozen colleges in Texas certified by the Federal Aviation Administration to train aviation maintenance technicians.

TSTC lead Aviation Maintenance instructor Tom Cross said he has seen extensive growth in the industry the last few years across the state, meaning that the opportunities for the program’s graduates are increasing.

“There is a shortage of skilled aircraft mechanics,” he said. “There are more mechanics retiring and leaving industry, than those entering. So right now is the time to enter this workforce. That’s great news for our students.”

According to a Texas Economic Development Corporation 2017 Texas aerospace, aviation and defense report, Texas ranks number one in the United States in air transportation employment, directly employing more than 135,000 workers.

Texas is home to the headquarters of two international airlines: American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, and two of the world’s busiest airports George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

The Rio Grande Valley, however, has not been left out and is seeing growth in the aviation industry with the introduction and return of new and existing airlines such as Frontier and American Airlines, respectively.

Jose Mulet, the director of Air Service and Business Development at Valley International Airport in Harlingen, said that with the expansion of airlines in our region there is the possibility that there will also be a growth in fixed-based operators in the area.TSTC Aircraft Maintenance

“There will always be a need for aircraft airframe and powerplant mechanics,” said Mulet. “When we see a growth in airlines and airplanes, we’ll also see a growth in contracts for repair and maintenance.”

Mulet also added that larger cities like San Antonio, Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth are major hubs for fixed-based operators (FBO), organizations that provide aeronautical services such as maintenance and fueling; and aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operations, an essential requirement to ensure that aircraft are maintained in conditions of air-worthiness for the safety of passengers.

The Rio Grande Valley has a total of five FBOs: Sun Valley Aviation and Gulf Aviation in Harlingen, Hunt Pan Am Aviation and Southmost Aviation in Brownsville, McCreery Aviation in McAllen, which have in the past or recently hired TSTC’s Aircraft Airframe and Aircraft Powerplant graduates.

One of TSTC’s most recent Aircraft Airframe and Aircraft Powerplant graduates Saul Pena, who is now an airframe and powerplant mechanic at Hunt Pan Am Aviation, said in a recent interview that he is happy to have received this opportunity while staying close to home.

“I received this job offer a little after I graduated and it was a relief knowing I was beginning my career,” said Pena. “TSTC treated me really well and I received an in-depth look into the field and hands-on training that helped lay my foundation to hit the ground running when I entered the workforce.”

Aircraft Airframe and Powerplant graduates, like Pena, receive training in airframe auxiliary and electrical systems; landing gear systems; hydraulic, pneumatic and fuel systems; aircraft engines; propellers and turbine engine overhauls.

Both programs also prepare students to pass their Federal Aviation Administration exam to obtain airframe and powerplant licenses needed to work in the industry.

Cross said that in addition to getting careers in the aviation industry, a number of students go on to obtain successful careers in aerospace.

According to the same Texas Economic Development Corporation report, the state is also seeing significant growth in the aerospace industry with 17 of the 20 largest aerospace manufacturers in the world with operations in Texas.

In fact, Harlingen and McAllen, according to the Texas Economic Development Corporation, support manufacturing facilities for various Fortune 500 aerospace companies such as United Launch Alliance and GE Aviation, and most recently SpaceX in Brownsville.

“We’ve been in contact with SpaceX representatives who are interested in hiring our students,” said Cross. “While many have already started careers in aerospace locally and statewide. The number of opportunities available to our grads is limitless and our job is to ensure they are job-ready.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a five percent employment growth and job opportunities are expected to be good because workers retiring from the occupation will need to be replaced.

They also project, on average, an aircraft mechanic and technician will make between $20-30 an hour, or more than $50,000 a year.

For more information on TSTC’s Aircraft Airframe Technology or on TSTC’s Aircraft Powerplant Technology, both also offered at TSTC’s Abilene and Waco campuses, visit tstc.edu.

Registration for Fall 2019 is underway. The last day to register is August 23.

TSTC students head to Kentucky for SkillsUSA national competition

(HARLINGEN) – Blueprint reading, coding and design is what Texas State Technical College students Eduardo Ortiz and Gabriel Flores have been focused on in preparation for the upcoming SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference.

SkillsUSA is a professional organization teaching technical, academic and employability skills that help high school and college students pursue successful careers. Members build these skills through student-led team meetings, contests, leadership conferences and other activities.

TSTC PMT Gabriel Flores (right) & Eduardo Ortiz (left)

Both TSTC Precision Machining Technology students and SkillsUSA competitors will be traveling this weekend to Louisville, Kentucky after earning their spot at nationals with gold medals during the SkillsUSA state competition hosted earlier this year at TSTC’s Waco campus.

“I’m going into this with a first place mindset,” said Ortiz, who’s competing in Automated Manufacturing Technology. “You’re never fully ready, but we’re confident we’ve prepared enough and we’re ready to be challenged.”

Ortiz is part of a three-person team and has been working with his peers Carlos Davila and Noah McCoy to prepare for this competition by studying past competition blueprints, recreating designs, reviewing numerical control programming codes and simulations.

It was only three years ago when Ortiz was in a head-on collision with a drunk driver who was driving on the wrong side of the road. He said he could have never imagined being able to take advantage of this kind of opportunity after two broken legs, fractures on his arm and ribs and partial paralysis.

Just like Ortiz pushed himself through recovery, he has pushed himself to succeed. His work has paid off. At state competition, Ortiz was also elected a SkillsUSA delegate representing Texas.

“I’m looking forward to everything this conference has to offer in addition to competing,” he said. “I’m excited to network with industry professionals and learn from other students like myself. This is going to be a great experience and I hope to represent TSTC to the best of my ability.”

And like with many competitors who have a competitive edge, gold is the goal.

For Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics student Jonathan Collins, he thrives in a competitive field and has been working with his advisor and instructor Mark Rosas non-stop since finding out he was traveling to Louisville.

He has been reviewing interior and exterior residential floor plans and all of the basics of architectural design and drafting to prepare 

for his upcoming eight hour test at SkillsUSA.

“Sure, the unexpected in the competition can be nerve-wracking, but SkillsUSA has helped me grow as a drafter, exposed me to industry professionals and like-minded people,” said Collins. “And I’m excited to see how I rank in a national setting.”

TSTC ADEG Jonathan Collins

He added that win or lose, he feels he has gained a lot by participating in SkillsUSA and credits his experience and instructors for his success and recent job offer.

Collins has already accepted an offer and started as a drafter for an architectural and project management company in McAllen. He is expected to graduate from TSTC in August.

TSTC Precision Machining Technology instructor and SkillsUSA Campus Coordinator Isaac Gonzalez said that he hopes every TSTC student going to Kentucky shows their professionalism, represents TSTC and their instructors well and gives it their all.

“Everyone is competing for that top position, but it’s no different than when a graduate is looking for a job,” said Gonzalez. “So our students need to go out there with their heads held high and know that win or lose they’ve already proved to be the best in Texas.”

Students in SkillsUSA participate in hands-on competitions in various fields such as science; technology; engineering; mathematics; building construction; and heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

TSTC is sending a total of 63 students, statewide, to the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference.

For more information on the programs offered at TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

The deadline to register for Fall 2019 is August 23.

TSTC Profile of Excellence – John Moody

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – John MoodyJohn Moody is an Automotive Technology graduate from Texas State Technical College. He earned his associate degree in 2012 and since then has had a successful career in industry.

The 37-year-old, San Benito native, said vehicle maintenance and repairs has been his life. As a child he would assist his late father at his automotive shop and knew it was a career he wanted to pursue.

Moody currently works with Tesla as a mobile technician traveling much of the state.

What was your reaction when you first learned about your job offer?

Before Tesla I worked for nearly seven years with Gillman Honda in San Benito. That was my first job out of college and I was relieved and excited to begin my career. Although I had automotive experience, without a formal education or degree it was impossible to get hired. After graduating it didn’t take me long to find a job and it’s only getting better. Recently I received a great opportunity from Tesla and made the switch.

How did TSTC prepare you for your career?

While the hands-on training was invaluable and I learned so many new techniques and processes, what really helped prepare me for my career were my instructors and their genuine care for our success. They always ensured one-on-one time with us to fully explain lessons and to be certain that we understood. Their experience and their sharing made all of the difference for me.

What has had the greatest influence on your success?

My wife and my family have been my greatest influence. They have supported me every step of the way. Everything I do is for them. To give them a better life and make sure they always have the best, which is what they deserve.

What are your future goals?

My goal is to grow within Tesla and eventually become a manager. The company has many growth opportunities and I hope to gain the experience I need to keep moving up. Also, someday, I would love it if I could follow in my father’s footsteps and open an automotive shop of my own and keep with my father’s legacy.

What would you tell a student thinking of pursuing a two-year degree vs. a four-year degree?

I would tell a student that a two-year degree offers great opportunity and advancement. It’s affordable and a quicker way of entering the workforce and earning, especially for someone like me who had a family to support. I always knew a two-year degree was a perfect match for me.

What is your advice for future TSTC students?

I’m not going to lie; getting an education is tough. It’s hard work, but it’s possible. You have to stick with your goals and continue pushing forward. There’s a finish line, I promise, even you can’t see it.

TSTC was the answer to biomedical equipment alum’s prayers

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Eric Interiano graduated from high school in the top ten percent of his class, but with no college plans or career path to follow.

For the now 20-year-old, who recently earned his associate degree in Biomedical Equipment Technology, this was concerning on many levels.

As a top 10 percent, general academics dual-enrollment student at TSTC, many had high expectations for him. He could have received acceptance into any university, yet he said nothing was calling his name.

“I had standards to uphold. It was a lot of pressure,” he said. “But I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I couldn’t find my passion. I started praying.”

Growing up in a strong faith-based family, praying was a daily ritual. So he started praying for a sign. He said he needed God to guide him toward his purpose in life.

And a sign he received.Eric Interiano Biomedical Equipment Technology alum

“I walked into a local gym and overheard a group of guys talking about biomedical class at TSTC,” said the Harlingen native. “I was familiar with the college, but not the program. So I asked questions. And I knew immediately this was the answer to my prayers.”

The next day, Interiano enrolled in TSTC’s Biomedical Equipment Technology program, with only two weeks left before the first day of class.

In Biomedical Equipment Technology students learn how to calibrate, troubleshoot, test and repair medical equipment that is used to diagnose, prevent and treat illnesses and diseases, such as patient monitors or EKG machines. All of this equipment is used at healthcare facilities such as clinics, hospitals and long-term care centers.

“I went into the program with no knowledge of the industry,” said Interiano. “But the training provided by the instructors in the program changed this quickly.”

Interiano calls himself a hands-on learner. He said he learns best by doing; so the training he received on industry-standard equipment helped him understand concepts, processes and his responsibilities and duties as a biomedical equipment technician.

“The training I received was invaluable. It allowed me to better grasp and understand how things work in the field,” he said. “I was able to learn quickly and apply it in my assignments, exams and internship.

Before graduating, Interiano was hired as an intern at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen, where he was hired as a full-time biomedical equipment technician immediately after graduating from TSTC’s program.

“I thank God every day for the opportunities he allowed me to find at TSTC and I thank God for the instructors and people he placed in my path,” said Interiano. “I was fully prepared and confident to hit the ground running when I got hired and that was because of the training and support I received at TSTC.”

During the program, Interiano and his classmates received real-world experience by maintaining and repairing equipment for TSTC’s Allied Health department, which he said better helped him sharpen his skills.

With a two-year degree, Interiano now receives a salary between $40,000 and $50,000 a year, and a full benefits package, and said he looks forward to growing and hopefully becoming a manager one day.

“I want to continue to learn as much as I can about my field. There’s something new every day,” he said. “And I hope to one day become a manager. I’m leaving it in God’s hands and I will go wherever he leads me. But I do know for sure, I have found my passion and purpose in life at TSTC.”

Biomedical Equipment Technology is also available at TSTC’s Waco campus.

For more information on the program, visit tstc.edu/programs/BiomedicalEquipmetTechnology.

Registration for Fall 2019 is in progress. The last day to register is August 23.

TSTC earns first Military Spouse Friendly designation

(WACO) – For the first time Texas State Technical College has been recognized as a Military Spouse Friendly school for 2019-2020 by Viqtory.

Viqtory is a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business that connects the military community to civilian employment, education and entrepreneurial opportunities through its G.I. Jobs, Military Spouse and Military Friendly brands.

TSTC Veterans Center Director Steve Guevara said this award reinforces the college’s commitment to military service members, veterans and their families.

“This is the first year we receive the Military Spouse Friendly recognition, and it’s a great honor,” said Guevara. “We continuously work to improve our services and ensure that we provide the best resources and assistance for veterans and their families.”

A press release released by Viqtory states that since 2009, the Military Spouse Friendly schools list has been a reliable resource for military spouses and has set a standard for higher education institutions to provide the best post-secondary education experiences for spouses of service members.

“The Military Spouse Friendly Schools designation helps military spouses select schools that will support them in their education journey by meeting their unique needs as a part of a military family,” said Brian Hucik, National Program Manager, Military Friendly. “Schools that are selected for the list are at the forefront of supporting the goals of military spouses.”

TSTC’s Veterans Center serves more than 850 military service members, veterans and their dependents including TSTC alumna and spouse to a veteran Stephanie Garcia.

TSTC Veterans Center

Garcia, who graduated with an associate degree in Business Management Technology, now works for TSTC as a student recruitment representative and said that she would not be where she is today without TSTC’s Veteran Center.

“The veteran center is a support system for veterans and their families,” said Garcia, who was also a student worker employee at the center. “I knew that when I was there I was never alone.”

Garcia said that Guevara and his colleague, Veteran Program Officer Jose Villegas, assisted her with the application process for her educational benefits.

She would also use the Veterans Center for its computer lab and printer and for studying and relaxing.

“I got to experience the difference the center makes in someone’s life first hand,” said Garcia. “There, everyone is going through the same thing and everyone is understood. I encourage every veteran, dependent and family member to utilize its resources. Because without the Veterans Center I don’t think I could have gone through school.”

Guevara said it is stories like Garcia’s that make everything they do worthwhile.

“This award reinforces our commitment to our service members, veterans and their families,” said Guevara. “A military family can find peace of mind that TSTC supports their educational interests and goals.”

TSTC is one of only 196 schools that were awarded this designation for 2019-2020.

The Military Spouse Friendly lists are created using data and sources from federal agencies and survey information completed by participating organizations to create a guide for military spouses looking to further their education.

TSTC, for the fourth consecutive year, has also been designated as a Military Friendly School by the same organization

“To be recognized as both a Military Friendly School and a Military Spouse Friendly School speaks volumes of our support to military families,” said Guevara.

The TSTC Veterans Center assists military service members, veterans and their families statewide with internal and external resources to ensure their educational success at TSTC.

The TSTC Veterans Center serves as a centralized, one-stop shop for prospective and current students who are veterans, as well as their dependents. The center assists with admissions, financial aid, GI Bill and Hazlewood applications.

In addition to the Veterans Center, TSTC also offers self-paced, competency-based learning for veterans who have gained applicable skills through their service in the military. Veterans can receive credit for these skills to move ahead on their certificate or degree plan quicker.

For more information on the services offered by TSTC’s Veteran Center, call 956-364-4387 or visit tstc.edu/veterans.