Category Archives: West Texas

New program allows students to receive real-world training while earning college credit

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Texas State Technical College will provide Brownwood High School students a chance to experience real-world training while earning college credit.

The 3M Manufacturing and Academic Partnerships (MAP) program, which will begin in the fall of 2020, will allow students to study a career in manufacturing. The MAP partnership between TSTC, 3M and Brownwood Independent School District was unveiled in February to the public and local officials.

TSTC Brownwood Associate Provost Raquel Mata said the goal for the 2020 school year is to have students take dual enrollment classes. By 2021, Mata’s goal is to implement an associate of applied science degree curriculum in Industrial Systems at the Brownwood campus.

TSTC received a grant from the 3M Foundation to purchase MecLab Trainers that will be used in the program. The Brownwood 3M plant manufactures reflective sheeting for highway signs, license plates, protective clothing and security laminates.

Through the MAP program, Brownwood High School students will have the chance to learn the basics of creating and using schematic designs, circuit diagrams and technical drawings; building models; creating simulations; and developing and constructing electronic and pneumatic circuits.

“I think this is a fantastic opportunity for our students to get exposed to career pathways they typically would not look at,” said Ray Tipton, executive director of the Brownwood Municipal Development District. “This is a partnership that is innovative and outside of the box.”

Mata hopes other industries in the Brownwood area get involved.

“This program is set up to replenish our workforce,” she said. “This is a good partnership for TSTC, Brownwood ISD and 3M. I look forward to its future.”

Tipton said that after learning of the grant opportunity, his first call was to TSTC.

 “I think this is a program that will change kids’ lives,” Tipton said.

After nearly a year of planning, TSTC and Brownwood High School are ready to start the program, but expansion to other school districts is possible.

“I would like to see other schools in our area, Bangs and Early, take part in the program,” Mata said.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

California Company Gives Money for TSTC Wind Energy Scholarships

(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Carlsbad, California-based BayWa r.e. Wind has given $157,500 to Texas State Technical College’s Sweetwater campus to provide scholarships to students in three area counties.

Fifteen students graduating this year in Fisher, Kent and Stonewall counties — five from each county — will be eligible for the $10,500 Amadeus Wind Energy Scholarship to study in TSTC’s Wind Energy Technology program in Sweetwater.

“This is a huge opportunity,” said Daniel Martin, TSTC’s student recruitment director for the West Texas campuses. “The scholarship is covering nearly 100 percent of their tuition costs. They should not have a reason to leave TSTC with any debt.”

Martin said TSTC has good relationships with the four high schools in the counties.

“We are not just there to recruit their students,” he said. “We are there to be helpful in the education process.”

Students receiving scholarships can take advantage of a growing career field. The number of wind turbine technicians is projected to grow to 10,300 through 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The jobs have a nationwide median annual wage of more than $54,300, according to the agency.

The scholarship is named for the Amadeus Wind Project, which will encompass land in Fisher, Kent and Stonewall counties. The project is expected to have more than 90 wind turbines, according to information filed with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Construction is expected to be completed at the end of this year.

TSTC offers a wind energy technician certificate and Associate of Applied Science degree in Wind Energy Technology in Sweetwater.

TSTC’s Wind Energy Technology program and BayWa r.e. Wind will host a Program Highlight Day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 24, at Aspermont High School in Stonewall County. Students from Jayton, Roby and Rotan high schools are also scheduled to attend.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to 

TSTC and Hendrick Health System Celebrate TWC Skills Development Grant

(ABILENE, Texas) – Leaders from Texas State Technical College, the Texas Workforce Commission and Hendrick Health System gathered Friday to commemorate a TWC Skills Development Fund grant.

The $198,022 grant will enable 115 current employees and 19 new workers to earn up to three certifications and take 19 classes covering coding, claim accuracy, clinical documentation, medical office compliance and other topics. Training started Jan. 3, said Cindy Brunett, a TSTC Workforce Training project manager. 

Doug Peters, president and chief executive officer of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce, said he is thankful for TWC investing in the city. 

“We need a skilled and accessible workforce and grow the jobs we have,” he said.

The partnership and training fulfills TSTC’s mission of supporting the state’s economic development efforts with specialized training, said Rick Denbow, provost of TSTC’s West Texas campuses.

TWC Chairman and Commissioner Representing the Public Bryan Daniel said the grant means TSTC can help make Hendrick’s employees the best at what they do. He said patients can feel someone is taking care of them at every stage of their care. 

Daniel said the grant will have a financial return in some employees seeing their salaries rise and more patients being served.

“What a phenomenal job TSTC does for our state,” he said.

Marjohn Piney, operations manager of Hendrick Health System’s provider network, said the goal of the business is to deliver the highest-quality health care to the region. 

Texas Rep. Stan Lambert, R-Abilene, said he knows resources can be limited in West Texas. He said the grant symbolizes how the region will thrive in workforce training and skills development in the next decade.

“We have found ways to stretch dollars more ways than you can imagine,” he said. 

The Skills Development Fund has been used since 1996 to localize workforce training for Texas companies. This enables companies to work directly with local partners to develop training tailored to the needs of employers. The competitive grant has assisted more than 4,200 employers and created or upgraded more than 342,000 jobs statewide, according to the TWC.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to


Sweetwater Company Continues Financial Support for TSTC Veteran-Students

(SWEETWATER, Texas) – A Sweetwater company continues to provide scholarship dollars to military veterans studying at Texas State Technical College.

EMA Electromechanics, an international maker of equipment for the clean wind energy sector, has given $150,000 since 2015 for the Sweetwater Veterans’ Funds for College Education.

Company president Eduardo Montich recently presented TSTC with a $75,000 check, putting their total commitment for scholarships at $225,000.  

The scholarship funds have helped veterans complete their technical education at TSTC’s campuses in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater.

“We are truly humbled by EMA’s generosity and desire to support veterans at TSTC’s West Texas campuses,” said Beth Wooten, chief executive officer of The TSTC Foundation. “Inspiring partnerships like this change lives. We are forever grateful to have the opportunity to work together on such a worthy cause.”

Rick Denbow, provost of TSTC’s West Texas campuses, said the company is an exceptional industry partner that not only sees value in TSTC graduates, but also supports them through their EMA veteran scholarship. He said the fund allows veterans to achieve their educational dreams when otherwise their college education might not be an option.

“We are deeply appreciative of EMA’s continued support of veterans enrolled at TSTC’s West Texas campuses,” he said.

EMA Electromechanics was founded in 1952 in Argentina. The company’s VDH Series Vacuum Circuit Breaker was first sold in the United States in 2003. The company began its American operations in 2010 in Sweetwater.

“EMA believes if it weren’t for our veterans, their company would have been unable to locate, operate and flourish in our fine country,” said Gail Lawrence, TSTC’s executive vice chancellor and chief of staff to the chancellor. “Our partnership with EMA is incredibly important and serves to further our mission and commitment to supply a highly skilled workforce for Texas industries and this region.”

For more information on EMA Electromechanics, go to

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC Student Strives to Set Example for Siblings

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Not many people know exactly what they want to do before they graduate from high school, but Texas State Technical College student Ethan Saucedo had a game plan since his junior year. 


“TSTC came to our school, and I knew they had a good program. So I visited TSTC and met with Ms. Renee, the instructor, and I just knew this was where I wanted to be,” Saucedo said. 


Saucedo is now a first-semester student in the Computer Networking and Systems Administration program at the Brownwood campus. He is also the first in his family to go to college. 


“I have a lot of younger cousins and two younger siblings, and I want to set a good example and encourage them to pursue college,” he said.


While earning his associate degree, Saucedo is commuting over 70 miles a day from his hometown in Eden to attend classes.


“I want to better myself and do good for my family, so you just have to do what it takes to get the work done,” Saucedo said. 


Saucedo’s work ethic has not gone unnoticed. His instructor, Renee Blackshear, says she is very impressed with what he has already accomplished and is looking forward to what he will do. 


“Ethan is a great kid. He works hard and has such a positive attitude. He is planning on competing for us in SkillsUSA, and I think he will do very well and grow even more,” Blackshear said. 


Although he has only been with TSTC for one semester, Saucedo is already excited for what the future holds.


“I’m really glad I’m here. I’m excited to compete in SkillsUSA, and graduate and eventually find the right job,” Saucedo said. “I would encourage anyone to look at TSTC because I really enjoy my program.”


Registration for the Spring 2020 semester is underway. For more information about TSTC, go online at

Ethan Saucedo is a Texas State Technical College student in the Computer Networking and Systems Administration program at the Brownwood campus. He is the first in his family to attend college. 


Student Veteran Earns Two Degrees at TSTC

(ABILENE, Texas) – Why stop at one college degree when having two is twice as nice? 


Texas State Technical College student and Army veteran Devan Moore is earning his second degree at TSTC and is expected to graduate this December. He graduated from the Sweetwater campus in 2018 with an associate degree in Wind Energy Technology and is now pursuing an associate degree in Industrial Systems at the Abilene campus. 


“I wanted to make sure I found the career that was perfect for me, so I decided to earn the second degree to make sure I could find the company and type of work that I would love,” Moore said. 


Moore enrolled at TSTC right after leaving the Army in 2016. Upon completing his first degree, he immediately reenrolled for the second degree. 


“I’m excited to be done with school, but I’m very proud of what I have accomplished,” Moore said. “I’m interviewing for the right job, and as I tell employers everything I am learning and have learned, it seems to impress them because the programs are so comprehensive.”


One of Moore’s favorite things about his time at TSTC is the relationship he has built with fellow veterans, classmates and TSTC Veteran Services representative Annette Collins.


“Annette is a rock star. She makes sure we have everything we need for our benefits and allows us to focus on learning and getting that degree. And that allows me to build up these friendships with other veterans and then be available to offer advice to the younger guys in class,” Moore said. 


For Collins, seeing the veterans succeed is what makes her day.


“Those students are my babies. I think of them as my children, so it makes me so proud to see them working hard and doing so well,” Collins said. 


Collins is a 20-year Air Force veteran. 


She and Moore both agree that TSTC is a great place for veterans to continue their education. 


“There is a lot going on when you leave the military, and it’s hard to feel normal again. But this environment, where you get to work with your hands and be around other people who understand what you’re going through, is awesome,” Moore said.  


  For more information about TSTC, log on to

Texas State Technical College student veteran Devan Moore is pursuing his second degree at TSTC. He is expected to graduate with an Associate of Applied Science degree in the Industrial Systems program. 


TSTC Combines Art and Technology for Project With Abilene Cultural Affairs Council

(ABILENE, Texas) –  Texas State Technical College has partnered with the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council to help create the newest addition to the Adamson-Spalding Storybook Garden in Abilene. 


Three metal panels of sculptural vines standing about 7 feet tall and titled “Cardinal Vines” will be added to the garden in 2020. On the vines will be representations of 21 cardinals, and the leaves can be engraved to honor someone special. 



TSTC Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology instructor Magaly Valdez designed the vine panels, and student Justin Morrow designed the cardinals and leaves.


“This was an awesome opportunity to show what the Architectural Design program can do and a great way for us to give back to the community,” Valdez said. 


Morrow is an Abilene native and said he felt honored to be part of the process.


“I think it’s really cool to take what I’ve learned in class and apply it to a project for my community,” Morrow said. 


The idea for the project was presented to TSTC by Lynn Barnett, Abilene Cultural Affairs Council executive director, and Pam Tippen, co-chairperson of the Storybook Garden. 


“The ‘Cardinal Vines’ is an opportunity to allow the community to honor a loved one and be part of bettering the Abilene area,” Barnett said “This was Pam Tippen’s brainchild, and I am very excited for what TSTC has done for us and for what this will mean for the community.”


The “Cardinal Vines” project is part of a fundraiser for the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council to install more lighting in the Storybook Garden and be able to provide more opportunities for the community to gather. 


“This project and so many others are not possible without the help of so many talented people. The community is so amazing in providing their skill set, and we are so thankful for TSTC’s willingness to be part of this,” Tippen said.   


“Cardinal Vines” is expected to be unveiled during the Children’s Art & Literacy Festival next spring. 


For more information about TSTC, visit

Texas State Technical College instructor Magaly Valdez and associate provost Justin Price (standing), along with Pam Tippen and Lynn Barnett (seated), visit the site where the three panels will be installed in 2020.


TSTC to Offer Paramedic Program in Spring

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Texas State Technical College will offer a certificate and an associate of applied science degree in Emergency Medical Services Paramedic at the Brownwood campus beginning next semester. 


“We are very excited to offer the paramedic program at the Brownwood campus and believe this will be a great opportunity for local community members,” Andy Weaver,  TSTC director of EMS and division director of Allied Health Services, said. 


While the paramedic program was offered at the Brownwood campus over 10 years ago, TSTC phased it out due to lack of interest. With rising job demand and need for those with paramedic licenses, the program has been brought back. 


“There is a huge need in this community for paramedics, and now we can fill that need and allow our students to further their career path in their hometown area without having to commute or transfer,” Stephen Sharp, instructor for EMS at the Brownwood campus, said. 


TSTC is accredited through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Educational Programs and recently received approval to teach the paramedic program at the Brownwood campus. 


“We are so excited and ready for this program to get started. We have the right staff and the right equipment to serve these students at the highest standard,” Weaver said. 


The paramedic program is now offered at the Abilene, Brownwood and Harlingen campuses.


Sharp encourages anyone interested in attending the paramedic program at the Brownwood campus to attend an information session hosted every Tuesday at 2 p.m.


“My door is always open to provide information about this career field because it such a rewarding field. If you feel called to this line of work and are ready to work hard and help people, we want you,” Sharp said. 


Registration for the Spring 2020 semester is underway. For more information about TSTC, go online at

Texas State Technical College will offer a paramedic program in spring of 2020 at the Brownwood campus. 


TSTC Students Volunteer With Houses for Healing

(ABILENE, Texas) – When someone is in need, you can count on Texas State Technical College students to answer the call. 


On Friday morning, more than 25 TSTC students, faculty and staff, along with some of their family members, volunteered their time with local nonprofit organization Houses for Healing. 


Houses for Healing provides free temporary housing to those who are receiving medical treatment away from home.


Michael Leroux, coordinator of Student Retention Services for TSTC’s West Texas campuses, said he was more than happy to partner with the organization. 


“I think that it is important that the school gives back to the community it is part of, and it’s important for the students to experience this,” Leroux said. “When we decided to work with Houses for Healing, I discovered the founder, Brian Massey, is a TSTC alum. So I think this makes it an even better opportunity for the students to see someone who has gone through what they have and to learn from him.”


Massey graduated in 1991 from the Sweetwater campus after earning an Associate of Applied Science degree in Automation Robotics. Following a successful career, he felt called to do something else with his skills.


“We are supposed to love our neighbor, really love them. And after talking and praying about it with our church, we decided this would be how we would embrace that charge,” he said. 


Massey said Houses for Healing plans to construct 20 mini-houses total, one for each county of the Big Country, plus a home specifically for veterans. The organization has four homes completed.


TSTC welding student Daniel Trevino said it was a great opportunity to get involved in the community.


“I love doing stuff like this. After learning what this company was about, it makes me feel even better to be here,” he said. 


The volunteers worked from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., clearing away debris and a fallen structure, as well as gutting the interior of an older home on the property. The land is where the next 16 homes will be built.  


For aviation maintenance student Omar Alvarez and welding student Curtis Sonstegard, it was a day to meet fellow classmates while doing some good. 


“We get to help people who need it. Of course we wanted to be here, and it’s great to be meeting other students and working with our hands,” Alvarez said.  


As the event finished, TSTC students and employees alike agreed it was the perfect way to spend a Friday morning.    


For more information about TSTC, log on to

Some Texas State Technical College students and employees, along with some of their family members, volunteered their time with Houses for Healing Friday morning.


TSTC Active-Duty Student Hopes to Save Lives

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – After 20 years of serving his country in the military, Paul Cuellar is ready to continue serving his community as a civilian. 


Cuellar is both an active-duty member of the National Guard and a full-time student at Texas State Technical College in the Emergency Medical Services Emergency Medical Technician program. 


“Everything is crazy right now because I’m in the process of retiring, so I am balancing full-time work and full-time school and family. But I know this is the field I want to be in when I get out, so it will be worth it,” Cuellar said. 


Cuellar said he knew that working as an EMT was the right choice for him because of the skills he learned in the military. 


“I had to learn some of these skills during a couple deployments, and I really enjoyed learning them. So when I was exploring what I wanted to do after the military, I saw that TSTC was right here in Brownwood and had the degree I wanted,” he said. 


Cuellar and his family live in Brownwood, and he hopes to work locally after graduation.


“I’m used to commuting and traveling for work, so I want to be working in Brownwood and serve the Brownwood community,” Cuellar said.

Cuellar’s dedication to serving his community has not gone unnoticed by his instructor, Stephen Sharp.


“Brownwood is home for me. And as a community member and as a paramedic for this area, we need people like Paul who are ready to serve. I think he will do great things, and I’m very proud of him for balancing school with his military service,” Sharp said. 


Cuellar is expected to graduate this December as an EMT. 


Registration for the Spring 2020 semester is underway. For more information about TSTC, go online at

Paul Cuellar is an active-duty member of the National Guard and a Texas State Technical College student in the Emergency Medical Technician program at the Brownwood campus.