Category Archives: Fort Bend County

Veteran finds new career at TSTC

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – On Friday, Jackie Cook joined nearly 100 other Texas State Technical College graduates who received a certificate or an associate degree during the college’s commencement ceremony at the Stafford Centre.

The 31-year-old walked across the stage to receive his associate degree in Cybersecurity Technology as his family and friends witnessed the graduate’s proud moment.

“This is a huge achievement for me,” he said. “It’s a brand-new chapter. I’ve been working toward this for a while now.”

After his first stint in college didn’t go as planned, Cook served in the Army for nine years, with a deployment in Afghanistan.TSTC Cybersecurity graduate Jackie Cook

“College wasn’t going so well, so I enlisted,” he said. “I decided to follow in my father’s footsteps.”

Cook was no stranger to military life. His father served in the military, and the family moved to destinations around the world, including Japan, where Cook was born.

“It was challenging as a child, moving from place to place,” said Cook. “But as I got older, I found the adventure in it, and meeting new people was always the silver lining.”

Although meeting new people and experiencing new places was exciting for Cook, he realized he wanted more stability for his family. In 2018 he decided to leave the military.

That was when TSTC came into the picture.

“I needed to return to school and get an education,” he said. “I needed a new career, and education was the key.”

With an interest in computers and a father who specialized in information technology and encouraged him to pursue a career in the field, Cook found Cybersecurity at TSTC and thought of it as a perfect match.

“I have found that I really enjoy network security processes,” said Cook. “I want to be the person that blocks threats, and TSTC has prepared me for that career.”

He added that although hands-on training and getting to practice what he learns has given him confidence to enter the real world, it has been his instructors’ eagerness to help that has made all the difference.

“Our instructors have been there to help and go above and beyond,” he said. “They ensure that we understand the material and that we are learning skills that will make us marketable to employers.”

And with his student worker position at the Cybersecurity labs, Cook has had the opportunity to learn even more by using his skills to help others in his class.

“Overall, my entire experience at TSTC has prepared me for the future,” Cook said. “And I’m definitely ready for what’s next.”

With several job offers in hand, the husband and father of one said TSTC has changed his life and his family’s life.

“It’s been an interesting journey to say the least. Being in school with a family had its challenges, but we got through it,” he said. “Everything I am doing is for them, and now I’m going to be able to support them and give them a better life.”

Statewide this fall, more than 1,000 TSTC students will receive certificates or associate degrees and join an alumni network that is 100,000 strong.

Cybersecurity Technology is also offered at TSTC’s East Williamson County, Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas and Waco campuses.

For more information, visit

TSTC student soon to be well-rounded graduate

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – On Friday, Texas State Technical College student David Krenek will walk across the stage at the Stafford Centre and receive his associate degree in Industrial Systems.

“It feels great knowing that I’m done and about to graduate,” said the 20-year-old. “It’s time to move forward and get my life started. That’s exciting.”

At a young age, the Rosenberg native discovered his passion for working with his hands and tinkering with machinery.

“It’s this type of work that allows me to think outside of the box,” he said. “Working with machinery and its components to create, repair or troubleshoot is something I love to do, and I’m glad that at TSTC I can create a career out of my passion.”TSTC Industrial Systems graduate David Krenek

College was always in the cards for Krenek, but he wasn’t always sure about attending a four-year university.

“I saw this new school (TSTC) along the highway and decided to check it out,” said Krenek. “And after some research and a tour of the campus and the Industrial Systems program, I was sold. It was the modern, industry-standard equipment I would be trained on and the program’s faculty that sealed the deal.”

Krenek said the program has brought him a long way since the summer days when he worked with his uncle on the farm, repairing farm equipment and small engines.

“I knew a bit about machines, but TSTC has really given me an in-depth understanding of them and what it takes to repair and maintain them,” he said. “I can’t wait to put my training into good use.”

Krenek has already received several job offers from companies around the Houston area.

“I’m ready to start working, and I can’t believe how fast TSTC got me there,” said Krenek. “There is still so much to learn, but TSTC has given me the foundation I need to begin a successful career.”

He added that he enjoyed his experience at TSTC, from training to faculty assistance.

“I received a lot of one-on-one with my instructors, which helped in understanding concepts and processes,” he said. “And even better was the hands-on training and real-world practice I got to do in the classroom.”

Krenek will graduate as a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

“I’ve come a long way, and I’ve entered a new chapter in life,” he said. “I hope to gain experience, learn a lot, advance in my career, start a family someday and enjoy life the best way I can. This is only the beginning.”

Krenek will celebrate with family and friends on Friday, joining nearly 100 other students at the Fort Bend County campus who will graduate with a certificate or associate degree as part of TSTC’s Class of Fall 2019.

This month, statewide, more than 1,000 TSTC students will join an alumni network that is 100,000 strong.

Industrial Systems is also offered at TSTC’s Abilene, East Williamson County, Marshall, North Texas and Waco campuses.

For more information, visit

TSTC provides electrifying career opportunities

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – The demand for electrical power and controls technicians is high and continuously increasing, which is why Texas State Technical College and its Electrical Power and Controls program are working diligently to produce highly skilled graduates.

“The industry is growing by leaps and bounds around the industrial centers in the Gulf Coast region,” said TSTC Electrical Power and Controls instructor Jonathan Bonkoske. “And with the mix of retirees and employee promotions, the demand will continue to increase.”

To meet that demand and fill a need, students who enroll in TSTC’s Electrical Power and Controls program can earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in approximately 18 months.

In the program, students can gain skills such as electrical safety, electrical design and engineering practices, electrical distribution equipment and component testing and evaluation, speed motor control circuit design, programming and troubleshooting, and electrical calculations.TSTC Electrical Power and Controls

“This highly diverse and well-rounded set of skills and experience will produce a potential employee that can fill different roles within a company,” said Bonkoske.

To learn and practice these skills before entering the workforce, students have access to labs that include industry-standard electrical distribution, transmission, equipment testing, automation, instrumentation motion-control tools, transformers and electrical motors.

“Being familiar and knowledgeable in these different areas gives the students options to select from many career opportunities and does not lock them into a specialty, which increases their hireability,” said Bonkoske. “Our graduates in this area are highly sought-after because of their hands-on skills and directly related work experience gained in the classroom and labs.”

Electrical Power and Controls statewide has a 94% job-placement rate with many of its graduates finding work as an electrical field service technician, electrical maintenance technician, electrical designer, instrumentation technician, automation technician or motion control technician.

Program graduates have found employment with such companies as Burns & McDonnell, Dashiell, Eaton Corporation, Wood Group and Schlumberger.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a person in this field can make, on average, nearly $64,000 per year.

Electrical Power and Controls is also offered at TSTC’s Abilene, East Williamson County, North Texas and Waco campuses. It is part of the college’s Money-Back Guarantee program, which refunds the tuition of participating graduates if they do not find a job in their career field within six months of graduation..

Registration for Spring 2020 is underway.

For more information, visit 

TSTC diesel program powers students’ success

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – The construction and transportation industry in the Houston area and statewide is rapidly growing, meaning that a skilled workforce is very much in demand.

Texas State Technical College is helping to fill that need with its technical programs like Diesel Equipment Technology.

TSTC Diesel Equipment Technology instructor Brandon Foster said that program faculty receive numerous calls from employers who have attended Employer Spotlights on campus and want to recruit TSTC graduates.TSTC Diesel Equipment Technology

“Our graduates are in high demand. Skilled diesel technicians are in high demand,” he said. “And we’re working diligently to ensure that our graduates are job-ready.”

To accomplish that, the program focuses on hands-on training to teach the appropriate skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the industry.

Students have access to a large shop that is equipped with industry-standard technology, such as training aids for hydraulic, brake and electrical systems, to learn skills in diagnosing, troubleshooting, repair and maintenance.

The shop is also complete with heavy-duty diesel trucks, bulldozers and front-end loaders.

“All of our equipment allows for a real-world experience,” said Foster. “And the skills they learn can be applied immediately to tasks they will find in the workforce.”

In addition to technical skills, soft skills such as resume building, interviewing, writing, leadership and communication are also a focus for the program.

“Soft skills are just as important as technical skills,” said Foster. “They have to be effective writers and communicators; all jobs require you to be.”

After completing one of three pathways — certificate one, certificate two or an associate degree — a student can work as a diesel mechanic technician, maintenance technician, construction equipment technician, engine specialist or heavy-duty equipment mechanic.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of diesel service technicians and mechanics is projected to grow five percent through 2028, faster than all other occupations, with a median pay of $22 per hour.

Companies who have hired TSTC Diesel Equipment Technology graduates include Chevron, Freightliner, Halliburton, Holt Equipment, John Deere and Peterbilt.

Diesel Equipment Technology is also offered at TSTC’s Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater and Waco campuses.

For more information, visit

TSTC welcomes new workforce training project manager

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Joyee Stevenson has returned to her roots in Houston and, in the midst of a career change, she found her calling at Texas State Technical College.

With only a couple of months under her belt at TSTC, the Workforce Training and Continuing Education project manager is already finding that this change was the best decision she could have made.

“I’ve always been an advocate for education,” said Stevenson. “So when I was laid off and I needed to start anew, I decided to combine my past experiences to help others find their dream careers.”

For more than a decade, Stevenson worked as a graphic designer, moving around often to follow job opportunities after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and a minor in marketing from the University of South Carolina.

She worked contract and freelance jobs rebranding pharmaceutical companies, and she even had the opportunity to design and advertise for a ramen noodle manufacturer.Joyee Stevenson

“I was infatuated with all aspects of my job,” she said. “The creativity and seeing my ideas and designs come to life kept me going.”

After hitting some bumps in the road as a designer, she returned to South Carolina and worked for a technical college doing graphic design and student recruitment.

“As a single mom, I did what I had to in order to support my daughter,” said Stevenson. “But I never knew that I would enjoy working in higher education so much, that it would spark a career change.”

With her brother in Texas and retired parents who were also ready to move, Stevenson decided to relocate to be closer to family and find better opportunities.

“My mom always told me I would thrive in higher education, but I was stubborn,” she said. “It turns out she was right.”

Stevenson said that soon after she arrived in Houston she noticed the new TSTC campus under construction in Rosenberg and immediately imagined herself working there.

“I’m so glad to be part of the TSTC family,” she said. “I immediately connected with college faculty and staff. It feels like home.”

Stevenson works closely with TSTC industry partners to provide training and opportunities for advancement for their employees.

“We connect with local companies because we feel training is important for everyone and everywhere,” said Stevenson. “What we do affects companies, individuals and families for generations to come.”

Stevenson said she sees a lot of herself in some of the students. Life as a single mom has not been easy. But with a great support system, she has gone far — and she hopes she can offer support to others as well.

“I share my experiences with students; there are no secrets to success,” she said. “I want to share my experiences and knowledge with others so that they can find success too.”

She added that she sees herself growing with TSTC, climbing the ladder but never forgetting what she is advocating for: education.

For more information on the services offered by TSTC Workforce Training and Continuing Education, visit

TSTC enrollment coach finds new home at TSTC

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Tracey Clayton comes to Texas State Technical College from Tennessee, where she was first introduced to careers in higher education.

Now, with several years of experience under her belt as an educational advisor and as an enrollment coach for the college, she is helping students at TSTC find their potential and become college graduates.

“It’s so exciting to see students get ready to enter college,” she said. “My passion is to help students start their education so they can find opportunities that help them lead better lives.”

Higher education wasn’t always what Clayton had in mind as a profession.

For 15 years, the single mom practiced as a licensed massage therapist for spas, mobile clinics, chiropractic clinics and private clients.

But when the joints in her hands started giving her problems, she knew it was time for a career change.TSTC Enrollment Coach Tracey Clayton

“This profession fell into my lap by accident, but it helped me support my son,” she reminisced. “I was always giving family members and friends massages and they all told me the same thing, ‘This is your career,’  so when I couldn’t massage anymore, I decided to teach.”

She taught massage therapy for three years at a technical college in Tennessee, also serving as a new student and graduate advisor.

“This was my first go-around in the education sector and I loved it,” she said.

Then Clayton decided she was ready for a change.  So with friends and family in the area and in Dallas, she chose Houston, Texas as her new home.

“Before making the move official, I applied everywhere. I wanted to work in higher education,” she said. “And then TSTC called. The moment I walked on campus and met the people around me, I knew this was where I was meant to be.”

Ten months later and Clayton said everyone at TSTC has become a second family and her favorite part: seeing the students she assists with enrollment being successful and getting closer to graduating.

“I love what I do and where I do it,” said Clayton. “TSTC has been a great place to work and my job feels rewarding. I can see myself growing here and staying for the long run.”

Clayton’s said her goals are to continue helping students pick the careers that are right for them and keeping her positive attitude because it can make a world of difference for those she serves.

And to help in her career development, she is also pursuing an online associate degree with TSTC in Business Management Technology.

“Nothing I have done or achieved has been easy, especially as a single mom,” said Clayton. “I can empathize with many of our students and I hope my story will inspire others to not give up on their dreams. Because TSTC helps create careers for anyone willing to work hard.”

Registration for Spring 2020 begins November 11. For more information, visit

TSTC student, employee thrives despite challenges

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – With a second chance at life, Carranza Bankston has joined the Texas State Technical College family as an employee and a Cybersecurity student.

It’s only been a few months since the 34-year-old, single mother had a stroke that left her bedridden for two months induced by Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare disorder in which your body’s immune system attacks the nerves.

“I’ve always been the traveler, the daughter that moves away to find adventure, so when I had my stroke I was far from my family,” said Bankston. “I knew it was time to move home and that’s when TSTC came into play.”

While on bed rest, the Richmond native began her job search, and working in the food industry for much of her life, she knew the TSTC Café cook position was the right fit.

“I had already applied to TSTC for several other positions, but this one was the one that was meant to be,” she said. “And I was able to move back home.”TSTC Cook, Cybersecurity student Carranza Bankston

Bankston’s food industry experience ranges from restaurant management to catering business owner. She even began culinary school, but put it on hold at age 22 when she became pregnant with her daughter.  

Her catering business “Jacasians” is Jamaican food with an American twist, and has seen success in the wedding and large-event arena.

“I’ve been working since I was 15 so I’m no stranger to hard work,” said Bankston. “And even though cooking has always been my passion, I also worked in technical support for a couple of major companies, and that’s why I decided to return to school for cybersecurity.”

With support from her mother and daughter to return to school, Bankston enrolled in Cybersecurity’s online program and expects to earn her associate degree in Spring 2021.

She said she is blessed to have a job she loves and a program that is flexible, allowing her to balance work and life.

“TSTC has exceeded my expectations as an employee and student,” she said. “I love the help, the friendliness and family-like atmosphere. I feel right at home.”

She added that her favorite part of being TSTC’s Café cook is serving people and making them smile, because with everything she has had to overcome she knows the importance of not taking life for granted.

“Everything I do, I do with my daughter in mind. I want her to see that no matter the trials and tribulations, you can still accomplish your dreams,” she said. “And that’s what I’m doing here at TSTC, moving forward with my goals so I can make my dreams come true.”

Bankston plans on continuing to travel around the United States, adding Mexico to the list soon, maybe even Italy in the future.

And while her ultimate goal is to own a successful restaurant, she said she is going to work hard in first, completing Cybersecurity and second, getting a government or state job that will allow her to use the skills she learns.

“With this degree I have the opportunity to start a new career in numerous areas. It really opens doors,” she said. “And although there are and will be obstacles to overcome, I can’t wait to put all – restaurant and cybersecurity – skills together to become a leader in my industries.”

Cybersecurity is offered online or at TSTC’s Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas, Waco and East Williamson County campuses. And, beginning Fall 2020, Cybersecurity Technology will be one of the Performance-Based Education programs offered at TSTC. PBE allows students the flexibility to move through the program at their own pace. 

For more information, visit  

TSTC alum electrifies his career

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Jerry Nieto sold the business he co-owned and he wanted to travel the world, but a life surprise led him to Texas State Technical College. 

The Brownsville native graduated with an associate degree from TSTC’s Electrical Power and Controls program in Spring 2019, and since then has found success within his chosen field.

“We came out strong after selling the business and I wanted to travel with my wife and daughter, but suddenly there was a new baby on the way, and I knew I needed to find something that would help me support my family,” said Nieto.

After being a utility business owner for nearly a decade, Nieto said he had research to do on colleges and careers, but then TSTC came to mind.Electrical Power & Controls alum Jerry Nieto

“I remembered TSTC and recalled hearing that it had strong programs that led to career opportunities,” he said. “And it turned out to be my best decision ever.”

Nieto’s son was born in 2017, at the beginning of Nieto’s program, and said it was not easy being a full-time student and parent of two, but he said he focused on what the program could give him and his family, and kept that in mind the entire time.

“I could see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Nieto. “So while it was no easy feat, I knew that what I was doing was for all of us.”

From TSTC’s real-world, hands-on training on industry-standard equipment to assistance with job placement, Nieto said he knew he was on his way to a new, successful career.

In fact, he was part of the first TSTC Electrical Power and Controls class to attend the EATON Experience Center in Houston last year.

Students, like Nieto, who visited the EATON Experience Center had the opportunity to speak with EATON leaders and professionals, tour the facility and get hands-on experience within the company’s training center.

“This was the first time I was introduced to EATON and it really opened my eyes,” he said. “It’s great that TSTC gave us this type of opportunity, it was really above and beyond. And because of it, I now work for EATON with a competitive salary and excellent benefits.”

One week after Nieto visited the EATON Experience Center he interviewed with the company, which led to a job offer before even graduating from his program.

Nieto is now a master field service technician troubleshooting, testing and performing preventative maintenance on electrical equipment such as breakers, transformers and switch gears throughout the state.

“I can now provide for my family and have more time to spend with them,” said Nieto. “I am so content with where my life is going and none of it would have been possible without TSTC.”

Students in Electrical Power and Controls will learn skills in specializations such as electrical engineering and design, installation and calibration, robotics interfacing and electrical construction and can work as electrical and electronics engineering technicians, electrical repairers, electrical designers, substation electricians and testing and maintenance technicians.

And if a graduate does not find a job within six months of graduating from the program, their tuition can be reimbursed, thanks to the program’s money-back guarantee.

Electrical Power and Controls is also offered at TSTC’s Abilene, North Texas, Waco and East Williamson County campuses.

For more information, visit   

TSTC, Central Fort Bend Chamber host MFG Day community event

National Manufacturing (MFG) Day is around the corner and Texas State Technical College,

in partnership with the Central Fort Bend Chamber, will be celebrating with a community event.

MFG Day, traditionally held on the first Friday in October, will be hosted October 4, 2019, from 9 a.m. to noon at the TSTC Brazos Center.

“This event gives our local students, local manufacturers, and our community an opportunity to

experience TSTC in a unique way as employers will be introduced to a segment of our future workforce,” said TSTC field development officer John Kennedy. “Events such as Manufacturing Day are great for TSTC because they highlight what we do – educate, train and prepare men and women for a great-paying career.”

MFG Day is an annual event that allows manufacturing facilities and education institutions across the country to open their doors and open more minds to a growing industry that is vital to the economy and to show how 21st century manufacturers are solving tomorrow’s challenges today.

“With the growth that is anticipated in Fort Bend County within the next five to 10 years, we need to create awareness about the educational opportunities in our area for this industry,” said Kristin Weiss, president and chief executive officer for the Central Fort Bend County Chamber. “And TSTC plays an integral part in our community by helping us build our workforce and keep our workers local. So partnering with TSTC for this event was a no-brainer.”TSTC MFG Day 2019 Precision Machining Technology

According to a press release from the Manufacturing Institute and National Association of Manufacturers, last year there were nearly 3,000 MFG events held across North American with more than 80 percent of students saying they became more convinced that manufacturing provides interesting and rewarding careers after attending the events.

“Modern manufacturing environments are commonly thought of as dark, dangerous factories designed for low-skilled workers, but MFG Day addresses this misperception,” the MFG Day press release stated. “Over the next decade, manufacturers will need to fill 4.6 million jobs. These jobs offer long-term career opportunities, high pay and exposure to cutting-edge technology and innovations.”

Kennedy said the event will include TSTC campus tours, a panel of industry specialists and former career and technical education students, and exhibitor visits with 20 industry partners such as CenterPoint Energy, Englebrecht Manufacturing, Frito-Lay, FW Murphy Production Controls, I Build America and Gurecky Manufacturing Services.

“We are very thankful for our industry partners who have decided to participate in this opportunity and we hope that the students who attend this event will be intrigued by what we offer and decide to continue their education at TSTC after they graduate from high school,” said Kennedy. “Our mantra is ‘Placing more Texans in great-paying jobs,’ and we hope to offer that opportunity when these students are ready.”

More than 300 high school juniors and seniors from surrounding school districts, college students, their parents and educators are expected to attend.

They will not only gain knowledge in manufacturing careers, but also learn about the programs TSTC offers that can help them gain employment in the industry.

Attendees will take an in-depth look into programs such as TSTC’s Robotics, Electrical Power and Controls, Industrial Systems Technology and Precision Machining.

To register for the event, contact the Center Fort Bend Chamber at 281-342-5464 or visit,


Local students celebrate new-age manufacturing opportunities

Monica Raumaker, a senior at Cinco Ranch High School and Miller Career and Technology Center in Katy, was one of nearly 200 local high school juniors and seniors who attended Manufacturing (MFG) Day at Texas State Technical College on Friday.

The 17-year-old, said the event was an eye opener for her in regards to manufacturing in the 21st century.

“This event was a great opportunity for students like me,” she said. “I learned about so many different career paths that I can take within the industry and it was amazing to see that what I’m learning in class is all applicable to the real world.”

The Katy native added that she is excited to enter an industry with so much opportunity.

The community event hosted in partnership with the Central Fort Bend Chamber, is part of a national celebration that is launched annually on the first Friday of October.TSTC, Central Fort Bend Chamber MFG Day 2019

Among the relevant manufacturing programs offered on the Fort Bend County campus include Precision Machining Technology and Industrial Systems.

The halls at the TSTC Brazos Center were lined with nearly 20 industry partners who were ready to network with high school and college students, educators, and leaders and members of the community.

Central Fort Bend Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Kristin Weiss said this is the first time the event has been put on by the Industrial Division of the Central Fort Bend Chamber.

“I am on cloud nine right now. The event was a great success,” said Weiss. “Seeing students excited, interacting with the companies and telling us that they’re learning so much makes me so happy. That is what this event was all about.”  

The event held from 9 a.m. to noon included campus tours, industry visits and a panel discussion with industry specialists and former career technology education students including TSTC Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) alumnus Brandon Felts.

Kellen Dorman from Gurecky Manufacturing in Rosenberg said there is a misperception about what manufacturing careers entail, and with an increase in demand for skilled technicians in the industry this has been a great event to educate and increase awareness about how the growing industry is vital to the economy and provides a number of career opportunities.

“Hosting this type of event was a great idea,” she said. “It’s so important to show our future generations that there are other options outside of a four-year university and how manufacturing is evolving.”

Dorman also added that she was excited to see so many young girls interested in pursuing careers in the manufacturing industry and she hopes that she was able to encourage them.

“We have two women at Gurecky, one of them is a machinist,” said Dorman. “That just goes to show that there is room for women in this industry, especially as the industry’s technology becomes more sophisticated.”

TSTC field development officer John Kennedy said the day was wildly successful for TSTC.

“To have so many students and potential employers in one place was fantastic,” said Kennedy. “The support we received from educators and the community regarding this event was overwhelming. I can already see this event grow annually.”

Kennedy and Weiss said they hope to continue working together to make MFG Day even bigger and better for years to come.