Category Archives: Waco

Safety a Top Priority in TSTC Welding Technology Program in Waco

(WACO, Texas) – In Texas State Technical College’s Welding Technology program, the issue of safety is as hot as the sparks flying off welding torches.

The program has an orientation during the first semester before classes start for students to learn how to prevent injury to the hands and eyes, along with other topics, said Carl Wilmeth, lead instructor in TSTC’s Welding Technology program in Waco.

The students take safety quizzes to see what they know before they begin welding. And, they learn how to do a job-safety analysis used to describe problems and hazards before lab work begins.

Wilmeth said the program simulates as closely as possible what happens in the welding industry regarding health and safety.

“By the second semester, we are hammering them real hard on safety,” he said.

Mark Wilfert, an instructor in TSTC’s Occupational Safety Compliance Technology program in Waco, said the work of welders is guided by separate general industry and construction industry regulations set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The regulations are taught in two classes that students take in the OSCT program.

Wilfert said people who do welding should wear eye protection, protective gloves, hearing protection, a leather protective shirt, nonslip boots, and helmets with the proper shading. He said the degree of shading on helmets is determined by the type of welding being done, as mandated by OSHA.  

Some of the risks Wilfert said welders can encounter if not properly protected include electrocution, vision problems caused by bright lights, and eye and skin injuries.

The precautions taught in TSTC’s welding classes highlight not only the value of earning a degree at a college like TSTC< but also the importance of workplace safety. 

Many workplaces have occupational health and safety specialists and technicians who inspect and test equipment, draft workplace processes for safety and health, and investigate workplace incidents. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted that the need for workers will rise to more than 125,000 by 2028 due to an aging workforce and insurance costs.

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

TSTC HVAC Graduates to Experience Smart Technology in the Workplace

(HUTTO, Texas) – Today’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning technicians need to know more than basic electrical theory and refrigeration processes. As technology evolves, so does the need to be familiar with how smart technology is being used in HVAC systems.

Curtis Christian, a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology instructor at Texas State Technical College’s Williamson County campus, said the students who are adept at computers and electronics are going to have a hiring advantage.

“There is a lot of detailed work,” he said. “You have to get all the sensors and get everything lined up, and everything has a little code to go with it.”

Some of the technology being seen in the industry includes smart sensors that can communicate with downloaded phone apps and smart thermostats. Employers can provide training through outsourcing or equipment manufacturers.

Christian said the use of smart technology is evolving from the wiring work that technicians have done in the past. He said smart technology is being used more in new and remodeled construction.

“Now they are able to do it using a router and wireless technology,” he said. “You can put a sensor in a room and a controller somewhere else and dispense with all the wiring.”

The HVAC Technology program receives input from its state advisory board made up of industry personnel who give advice on how to adapt the curriculum to what is occurring in the workplace.

“They are interested in having guys that can understand and troubleshoot,” Christian said.

The number of jobs for heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers is projected to increase to 414,200 workers through 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It credits the increase in workers to growth in modernized climate-control systems. The Austin area had more than 1,800 HVAC technicians in May 2018, according to the labor bureau.

TSTC’s HVAC lab will undergo a makeover this year, including the installation of a variant refrigerated flow (VRF) digitally-controlled heat pump.

“It is made by Toshiba, so it has sensors that you would not find on a regular residential HVAC system,” Christian said. “VRF takes heat and puts it in another room. You still have the outdoor unit, and it ups the efficiency and is popular in new construction and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified construction.”

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

 

TSTC Culinary Arts Program Reopens Student-Run Restaurant

(HUTTO, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Culinary Arts program at the Williamson County campus has reopened Level 3, its student-run restaurant, for the spring semester.

Friday’s Mardi Gras menu included creamy new potato and leek soup, chicken and andouille sausage gumbo, and other dishes.

The menu and restaurant’s festive decor was designed by Luis Rodriguez of Hutto, a TSTC Culinary Arts student scheduled to graduate in May.

“I am a huge fan of Louisiana in general,” he said. “I love the culture there and how it feels.”

Rodriguez admitted he was nervous Friday about the restaurant’s opening.

“It was a little hectic in the middle, but we fired on all cylinders,” he said.

Students prepared the meal, seated patrons and served their dishes.

Caroline King, a TSTC Culinary Arts major from Round Rock, said she was excited about the restaurant’s opening week. Her favorite meal on the menu was shrimp po’boys, which could be grilled or fried.

“I love the whole production and being in the hive,” she said. “I’m always excited to cook.”

The restaurant attracted a mix of TSTC employees and area residents.

Timothy Hemesath, an instructor in TSTC’s Precision Machining Technology program, was one of the people making his way to the third floor of the East Williamson County Higher Education Center to eat. He said the Louisiana sunburst steak salad was well prepared.

“The students are learning a valuable lesson on how a restaurant operates, from orders to the happy customers,” Hemesath said.

Morgan Hubbard, a member of the Hutto Independent School District’s board, was taking a box of sugar dusted beignets home to her husband. She said the food and service were excellent.

Chef Nelson Adams, an instructor in TSTC’s Culinary Arts program, said the time was right to reopen the restaurant due to the number of students in the program. The student restaurant was last open more than four years ago, Nelson said.

The restaurant is donation-based, Nelson said. Patrons’ tips and donations in lieu of meal prices go to the Culinary Arts program to support students’ education needs.

The restaurant will be open on Fridays during the spring semester. Future themes and dates include Caribbean on March 6, Trendy Cuisine on March 20, Vietnamese on March 27, Germany on April 3 and Texas Buffet on April 17.

To get a registration link to sign up to attend the restaurant, email Adams at nelson.adams@tstc.edu.

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

Area Students Win Top Prizes at Science and Engineering Fair Held at TSTC

(WACO, Texas) – Kaylee George and John Singer, both from McGregor High School, along with Ezra Stegemoller  from Classical Conversations home school in Waco, were the top winners in the Central Texas Science and Engineering Fair held Tuesday and Wednesday at Texas State Technical College.

The students are eligible to represent Central Texas in the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in May in Anaheim, California.

The winners’ projects were in the Behavioral and Social Sciences category.

George and Singer won for their team project titled “Getting Crossed: Does Hand/Eye Dominance Affect Basketball Free-Throw Shooting Percentage?”

Stegemoller won for his project, “Multitasking: Does Noise Affect Math Performance?”

George and Singer’s project abstract stated that the purpose of their experiment was to provide basketball coaches with a tool to help players evaluate and adjust their skills, and thus improve their free-throw percentages and number of winning games.

Their project concluded that if a basketball player has an uncrossed hand/eye dominance, then they are more likely to make more successful free throws than crossed hand/eye-dominant basketball players.

George said a lively discussion about basketball led them to the subject of their project.

“We got into an argument about who shot better free throws. And it turned out that because I’m crossed with my hand and eye, I didn’t shoot as well as my partner did,” she said.

When Singer was asked how he felt about winning, he replied, “Speechless — it feels good.”

Stegemoller’s own difficulty in concentrating when distracting background sounds are present inspired his project.

“Whenever I’m taking a test, I always struggle with noise in the background, and I was wondering if that affected other people around my age,” he said. “So I decided to do it on that.”

Stegemoller’s project concluded, “Although there were not enough subjects to confirm or deny the optimal auditory atmosphere for test taking, the results are substantial enough to draw the general conclusion that students perform best with lyrical music playing.”

There were more than 100 projects from area public, private and home schools. Some of the other topics the middle and high school students studied include chemical transformations, high-tech recycling, and robotics.

The first-, second- and third-place winners in each junior and senior division are eligible for the Texas Science and Engineering Fair in March in College Station.

For more information on the Central Texas Science and Engineering Fair, go to ctsef.org.

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

TSTC HVAC Graduates to Experience Smart Technology in the Workplace

(WACO, Texas) – Today’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning technicians need to know more than basic electrical theory and refrigeration principles. As technology evolves, so does the need to be familiar with how smart technology is being used in HVAC systems.

“It’s been around for quite a few years and keeps improving,” said Tim Snyder, an instructor in Texas State Technical College’s Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology program in Waco.

Some of the technology being seen in the industry includes smart sensors that can communicate with downloaded phone apps and smart thermostats. He said employers can provide training either through outsourcing or equipment manufacturers.

Snyder said the HVAC Technology program receives input from its state advisory board made up of industry personnel who give advice on how to adapt the curriculum to what is occurring in the workplace.

Rox Eskew, human resources manager at P&E Mechanical Contractors in Waco, said today’s students should adapt well to the use of technology because they have grown up with it. She said the company has had success hiring students from TSTC’s HVAC Technology program.

“It is all phone app-related,” Eskew said. “It does all our billing and allows them to see everything, including the history of the call they are on and the products that have been used in the past. Being able to adapt to that is very important.”

The number of jobs for heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers is projected to increase to 414,200 workers through 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It credits the increase in workers to growth in modernized climate-control systems.

The Waco area had about 360 HVAC technicians in May 2018, according to the labor bureau.

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

TSTC Precision Machining Graduates Needed in Williamson County

(HUTTO, Texas) – Astro Mechanics in Round Rock is one of the few manual machining shops in the Austin area, said Carrie Stemp, the company’s president.

“I have spent thousands and thousands of dollars looking in Texas, and I just don’t get anybody,” she said. “I may get one or two (potential employees), but they do not have experience in machining.”

Texas State Technical College’s Precision Machining Technology program on the Williamson County campus in Hutto teaches both manual and computer numerically controlled machining processes.

Tim Hemesath, an instructor in TSTC’s Precision Machining Technology program, said machining is facing a growing skills gap that is leaving jobs open. He called it a good problem to have.

“If you like to work with your hands and have an entrepreneurial spirit, then this trade is for you,” Hemesath said. “You definitely always have a job until you decide to retire.”

Stemp said the company began using an employee search firm for the first time this month to find qualified job candidates. She said machining should be taught in schools to entice youth to pursue the field once they graduate.

Jobs for machinists are projected to grow to more than 405,000 through 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Texas had more than 26,000 machinists in May 2018, according to the agency.

In the third quarter of 2019, there were more than 360 machinists working in Williamson County making an average mean annual wage of $44,100, according to Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area in Cedar Park. A majority of the county’s machinists work in machine shops, while others are in agriculture, construction and mining machinery manufacturing.

The agency predicts 74 jobs will be added in the next seven years in Williamson County.

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

TSTC’s Precision Machining Technology Graduates Needed in Dallas County

(RED OAK, Texas) – Rodie Woodard, president of Maximum Industries in Irving, said finding qualified machinists depends on the timing of market conditions.

“There is plenty of talent in the pool, but when things are strong with Lockheed, Raytheon, Bell Helicopter, they nab every single experienced multi-access machinist there is,” he said. “They are able to pay and offer benefits that smaller companies cannot compete with.”

Some of Texas State Technical College’s Precision Machining Technology graduates at the North Texas campus have been hired at Cannon & CannonIndustrial Machining in Greenville, Fabricon Machining in Duncanville, Martin Marietta in Dallas, and other businesses throughout the region.

“Precision Machining Technology graduates working for smaller companies still have great advantages. However, due to the common fluctuations of today’s economy, stability is jeopardized,” said Adrian Castanon, a TSTC Career Services coordinator. “A majority of our students strive to get employed with bigger, well-known companies.”

Jobs for machinists are projected to grow to more than 405,000 through 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Texas had more than 26,000 machinists in May 2018 earning an annual mean wage of more than $46,800, according to the agency.

Woodard said machining is a unique skill not everyone can quickly learn. The company does work for the aerospace, defense and other industries.

“We do a lot of machining. But we do what you consider fabrication work, meaning water-jet and laser cutting of parts,” he said. “We have a pretty young workforce, but probably at least half of our employees have been here more than 10 years.”

Richard Perez, research manager at Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas, said there is a need for machinists in Dallas County, particularly in Garland, its manufacturing hub. The demand can be seen through postings for jobs, which Perez said is taking some companies more than a month to fill.

Perez said Workforce Solutions is working with career and technical education programs in Dallas County school districts to spur interest in the machining field.

“We are increasing that student pipeline and letting them know there are good jobs available,” Perez said. “You do not have to go to a four-year university if you do not want to.”

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

Leander Company Gifts Scholarship Money to TSTC

(HUTTO, Texas) – A Leander company recently gave a $10,000 gift to Texas State Technical College’s Williamson County campus for student scholarships.

One Source Manufacturing is a contract manufacturer specializing in precision machining for the aerospace, semiconductor, gas and oil industries. The company has about 100 employees.

“We are in the business of machining parts, so we have a hard time finding employees,” said Kevin Shipley, the company’s owner and president. “I am big on the trades.”

The scholarship money is for students living in the Leander area who are interesting in attending TSTC.

“We have been hyper-focused on the east side of the county,” said Michael Smith, a senior field development officer for The TSTC Foundation. “Our mission is to take care of our backyard before we go into other areas. We have been focusing on Hutto, Taylor and Georgetown; Leander is next.”

Smith said TSTC’s Precision Machining Technology graduates recently toured the company. 

Shipley graduated in 1983 from the Computer Maintenance Technology program at Texas State Technical Institute (now Texas State Technical College) in Harlingen. He also employs several TSTC graduates.

Shipley said he anticipates the company giving additional scholarship money to TSTC in the future.

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

TSTC Student Encourages Class Tutoring

(WACO, Texas) – Brandon Hazlett of College Station grew up with a fascination for technology.

“I did all the computer classes in high school,” the A&M Consolidated High School graduate said. “And, my father works in information technology.”

Hazlett’s mother encouraged him to pursue Cybersecurity at Texas State Technical College’s Waco campus. He learned the courses so well that he became a peer tutor for TSTC’s Student Success Center in spring 2019. He also helps students taking courses in the Computer Networking and Systems Administration program.

“It’s a good way to make friends,” he said. “I get to figure out how it (course material) can stick with them.”

The Student Success Center in the campus’ Learning Resource Center offers free tutoring services to students. The center also has the Helping a TSTC Student Succeed (HATSS) program, which gives attention to students who need more specialized academic help.

Kassie Harrington, the center’s coordinator, said TSTC students can currently receive tutoring in Avionics, Computer Programming, Cybersecurity, Architectural and Civil Drafting Technology, Electrical Power and Controls, Instrumentation Technology and Visual Communication courses. Harrington said tutors can also work with students on academic math.

Hazlett said more students should visit the Student Success Center, not just at midterms and before finals.

“I think people need to realize that asking for help does not mean defeat,” he said.

When he is not tutoring or in class, Hazlett is doing an internship at Sentinel Cyber Intelligence in Waco. He is scheduled to graduate in the spring with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Cybersecurity, then stay for the summer to earn a Digital Forensics Specialist Advanced Technical Certificate. His goal is to work in the Austin area.

Students who want to be peer tutors need to meet grade-point average and semester-credit-hour requirements. They also have to be in good academic standing. The students can work a maximum of 19 hours a week.

“Students relate to other students,” Harrington said.

Harrington said she wants to see every TSTC program have at least one peer tutor to assist students.

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

Area Company Values TSTC Workforce Training

(WACO, Texas) – Javier Arroyo, the die casting process manager at Anderton Castings in Troy, is proud to show off the future to visitors.

This fall, the company will finish installing new equipment to increase production of aluminum high-pressure die castings for the automotive industry. The expansion aligns with the company’s mission to embrace lean manufacturing and become more environmentally conscious.

“It’s an impressive operation they have got,” said Adam Barber, TSTC’s interim executive director of Workforce Training in Waco. “I think their long-term goal is to move to a fully automated process, which is good for them and good for us.”

Barber said companies like Anderton Castings have inquired about training from TSTC for blueprint reading, computer numerical controls, hydraulics, programmable logic controls and robotics. He said requests like these mean companies are moving more to automation and want to empower employees with more technical skills.

The company has looked to TSTC in the past for employees and has hosted student interns. In 2019, the company engaged TSTC for an eight-session training program for maintenance and programming of robots. This year, the company plans to extend its training program with TSTC and support from the state of Texas to retrain more than 130 employees to prepare them with new technologies in manufacturing, hydraulics, electrical troubleshooting and CNC operations. 

“If we can hire people that are now in school, they can apply their knowledge,” said Carlos Cervera, the company’s operations engineering manager.

Cervera said employees receive training from the company and from the manufacturers of the equipment used, such as FANUC for its robots. He said students who want to pursue robotics should have a good understanding of geometry and trigonometry.

TSTC’s Robotics Technology program in Waco uses FANUC robots for students to train on.

“What we teach is exactly the type of work they do,” said Brandon McMahan, an instructor in the Robotics Technology program.

Arroyo said it is challenging to find potential employees who know tungsten inert gas welding, die casting and operation of computer numerical controlled machines. He said it is important to grow the skills of the employees they have.

“We want to create a career for them,” Arroyo said.

Jeff Straub, Troy’s city administrator, said workforce training is vital for residents. He sees the city of about 2,200 residents growing in the next few years with the addition of two subdivisions totaling more than 700 homes. And, he hopes more industrial growth happens around Anderton Castings.

“People with more skills tend to have more money,” Straub said. “They can buy a house and be more involved in the community.”

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