Category Archives: Fort Bend County

TSTC hosts its first interview practicum

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – With the knowledge that practice makes perfect, Texas State Technical College held an inaugural job interview session for students in Fort Bend County, an event that is a job-readiness tradition on most of the other TSTC campuses statewide.

TSTC’s Talent Management and Career Services hosted this first-ever Interview Practicum with assistance from industry partners and TSTC faculty and staff.

Soon-to-be TSTC graduates from Electrical Lineworker Technology and Electrical Power and Controls participated in the event that included mock job interviews, resume building and interview skills workshops.

TSTC Placement Coordinator Judy Cox said each student participated in a round of interviews, each 30 minutes long, and were provided constructive feedback on how to improve his/her resumes and interview skills.TSTC First Interview Practicum

“It’s important to ensure the success of our students,” said Cox. “We create students who are not only technically skilled, but also well-rounded with the people skills they need to competently and confidently present themselves to industry recruiters.”

Industry partners such as Kiewit Corporation; Atec, Inc.; Burns & McDonnell and IBEW Electrical Lineworkers Local Union 66 participated in the event helping with interview coaching and providing student feedback.

Ben Holmes, business representative for IBEW, said he was happy to help TSTC in providing this type of opportunity for its students.

“We have a close relationship with TSTC and their students are graduating job-ready and with the technical skills we’re looking for, but improving their soft skills is also part of the plan and that’s great,” said Holmes. “Some of these students have never had an interview, so giving them the chance to practice and improve is invaluable.”

This was the case for TSTC Electrical Lineworker Technology student Angel Moran, who got his first taste of interviewing at the interview practicum.

“I was pretty nervous going into this,” said the 19-year-old. “I was shaky the first round, but really took advice to heart and felt improvement and more confidence going into the second and third rounds.” I’m glad TSTC gave us this opportunity. An interview is everything. That’s what gets you the job and career you want.”

The Fresno native, who graduates next month, said he has already been invited to interview with CenterPoint Energy in Houston and feels more prepared for the interview process because of TSTC’s recent event.

“Interview Practicum taught me a lot and has been very helpful, especially for a first-timer like me,” he said. “I’m thankful to the coaches who took the time to help us and to TSTC for its support in and out of the classroom, and for ensuring that we’re job-ready.”

After seeing the success and positive feedback she received from students and industry partners, Cox said TSTC plans to host this event annually.

“According to our students, our event was 100 percent successful, and I agree,” she said. “The confidence I saw our students leaving with puts a smile on my face. And our industry partners were very impressed with our students’ skills. Our interview practicum can only grow from here and we’re excited for what’s to come.”

In order to promote job placement, TSTC has held interview practicums at its other ten campuses for the past decade. TSTC in Fort Bend County is among the newest but fastest growing campuses for the college.

For more information on the services offered by Talent Management and Career Services to TSTC students and alumni, and on the programs offered, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC hosts a summer of registration rallies

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – On Friday, Texas State Technical College in Fort Bend County will host its first Registration Rally of the summer.

The event, hosted at the TSTC Brazos Center, will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will focus on registering prospective and current students for four of the 10 programs offered at the campus: Electrical Power and Controls, Environmental Technology, Electrical Lineworker Technology and Robotics.

“Registration Rallies offer prospective students an in-depth look into our campus and our programs before they even register,” said TSTC assistant director of enrollment Christina Vargas.

This is the first year that TSTC has hosted registration rallies specific to programs. Vargas said the idea behind this change is to offer prospective students and their families shorter wait times, more one-on-one time with program faculty and an in-depth look into what they should expect as TSTC students.TSTC Registration Rally June 7

“Providing a great college experience and giving students the skills they need for a successful career is always our number one priority. And by dividing our rallies up by division allows us to provide a wider scope of program and faculty accessibility for those in attendance,” said Vargas.

Enrollment services representatives will be on hand to assist prospective students with TSTC application and registration processes, advisement and testing.

Student Life, Career Services and Transition Services will also be on hand to answer any questions.

“This is a one-stop-shop for anyone interested in attending TSTC to pursue one of these programs. They can be straight out of school, looking to improve skills or ready for a career change,” said Vargas. “Our goal is to get them registered and ready to begin classes Fall 2019 toward a successful career.”

Vargas also added that financial aid and scholarships are available for those who qualify.

In fact, there will be a drawing for a $250 TSTC scholarship and an Amazon Fire Stick for those who apply and register for classes at the event.

“We want to encourage everyone to come by check out our campus and our programs,” said Vargas. “There’s no time better than the present to come or return to school. We have something for everyone.”

The next registration rallies at TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus will be hosted on June 14 and 21, July 12 and 26, and August 9 and will focus on different programs such as Diesel Equipment Technology, Cyber Security Technology, Welding Technology, Industrial Maintenance, Precision Machining Technology and Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC).

Registration Rallies are being held across TSTC’s 10 campuses statewide.

For more information, visit tstc.edu/rally.

 

A survivor of domestic violence finds new lease on life at TSTC

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Yvette Vaughan is one of Texas State Technical College’s newest instructors with only three months on the job.  But she has big goals for her program and students.

Her bachelor’s degree in Biology and a master’s degree in Environmental Science, both from Tarleton State University, and her extensive experience in the field, made her a perfect match for TSTC’s Environmental Technology program.

“I’m excited to be at TSTC. This place was a gift to me from God,” she said. “This is a really big opportunity for me to make a difference in the lives of my students and to work together with them in making our planet a better place.”

The 43-year-old said she never expected to be where she is today because science wasn’t her first passion, but as a domestic violence survivor she is blessed to have a new lease on life.Yvette Vaughan

“I played the flute. I was a music major,” she said. “It was the only thing I knew. It was a large part of my life until an accident left me with severe facial injuries and crushed my dreams.”

At this point, Vaughan had to start life over again.

She became a single mother and no longer able to play the flute due to her injuries, found new dreams.

“I look back now and wonder if this was all some weird blessing in disguise, because had none of it happened, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” said Vaughan. “Who knew that I loved science as much as I do and that I am so good at it.”

Vaughan said receiving a degree in biology was as much of a surprise to her as it was to her family.

“My advisor called me into the office and asked me if wanted to graduate that semester because I had taken enough classes to earn my credits. I hadn’t even thought about it, or even declared a major,” she remembers. “But I said yes, and when I told my family about my new career choice it was a relief to know everyone was happy for me despite the huge change.”

This was, what Vaughan called, an extremely proud moment for her and her family.

After graduating with her bachelor’s degree, surviving a troubled economy and completing her master’s degree, she went on to work at a state park, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and KJ Environmental Management, Inc., a dedicated, full service engineering and environmental consulting firm in Texas, holding positions in areas such as environmental, health and safety, gas and wastewater operations and consulting.

But after suffering two major car accidents on the same day, Vaughan worked hard to walk again and the pressure of constant travel because of her career and her existing injuries, became unbearable.

That is when Vaughan began looking for a new job and found TSTC’s job posting while sitting in an Idaho airport waiting for her flight.

“God answered my prayers that night. Had I not been stuck in Idaho, I would have never seen TSTC’s job posting,” she said. “I applied immediately and received a call back not long after.”

Teaching has been a big change for Vaughan, but she said it’s a good change and she’s looking forward to her future at TSTC.

“I’m more relaxed, less stressed and just overall happier now,” said Vaughan. “And working in a classroom is so rewarding to me and I can’t wait to see where we can take this program.”

Vaughan is currently working on getting Environmental Technology faculty and students involved in the community. She said she believes this is what will help spread awareness about the program, its benefits and career opportunities.

Most recently students volunteered with Fort Bend County’s Citizen’s Environmental Coalition on Earth Day and encouraged recycling, created a Fort Bend Citizen Corp. student chapter on campus, which Vaughan will lead as faculty advisor, and hosted an Environmental Day open house on campus to showcase the program for local middle and high school students.

“Building a strong relationship with our community is essential to how we grow Environmental Technology and TSTC,” said Vaughan.  “I want my students to not only be proud of their academic achievements, but also for what they’ve done for the community. We want to make a difference. And I hope my story can inspire others.”

Students who enroll in Environmental Technical in Fort Bend County, Breckenridge or Waco’s TSTC campuses, find careers as environmental science and protection technicians, environmental scientists and specialists or health and safety engineers or inspectors.

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

 

Hurricane Harvey helped one TSTC student find a career

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Two years ago when Hurricane Harvey devastated the Gulf Coast, Texas State Technical College student Nolen Maraman and his family lost their home to flooding, forcing them to start over, yet through it all he also found a new career.

“We had to evacuate north, in the middle of the storm,” said the 22-year-old. “And as we were leaving, I saw a number of electric companies arriving. There were men and women ready to get power up and running the moment the storm moved out of our area. To me that was intriguing and brave.”

Maraman would spend the next several days researching about what an electrical lineworker is and does.Nolen Maraman

“It didn’t take long for me to realize that becoming an electrical lineworker is what I wanted to do,” said the Cat Spring native. “It’s a career with many opportunities to offer, including the chance to help others.”

There was only one thing delaying his start at TSTC, and that was his last semester at Sam Houston University, he was only a few months away from graduation.

Maraman went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in business management, but he said it was only a path for him to follow, not what he wanted to do. He had found his true passion, and that was at TSTC.

“At first my family was a bit skeptical about me not pursuing a job with my degree, and returning to a technical college,” he said. “But after I showed them the number of job opportunities that would be available to me, how in demand my skills would be and my projected salary, they trusted my choice and were supportive every step of the way.”

He expects to graduate in August with a certificate in Electrical Lineworker Technology and said that the training he has received in his program will allow him to hit the ground running when he enters the workforce.

“I came in completely new. I knew nothing about the field,” said Maraman, “But because of the program’s experienced instructors and the hands-on, real-world training they provide to their students with an on-campus pole yard, I now know the foundation and the basics that I need to be a successful lineman.”

Maraman added that not only has he found his passion and new career, but he has also found happiness.

“I can honestly say I’m happy now,” he said. “I’m working toward a career that helps others, that I’m passionate about and that gives me room for growth.”

Nolen MaramanIn fact, both of Maraman’s parents received a technical education. His mom began her career as an emergency medical technician and his dad is an underwater welder.

“Technical education fuels our workforce,” said Maraman. “In my experience, my certificate is giving me more job opportunities than my bachelor’s degree, it’s unbelievable.”

Maraman also said that he highly recommends TSTC and the many programs being offered.

“These are life-long careers, not just jobs,” he said. “And I’m excited to begin mine. And I have (Hurricane) Harvey to thank for this.”

Graduates from TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program, also offered at the college’s Marshall and Waco campuses, can expect to be in demand for the nation’s highest paying career. Texas employs more lineworkers than any other state.

According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employment of lineworkers is expected to grow eight percent, and job opportunities will be best for persons with good technical and mechanical skills. In 2018 the median annual wage was more than $70,000.

For more information on TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program or to apply, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC diesel student earns spot at SkillsUSA national competition

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Rene Escobar was the only student at Texas State Technical College in Fort Bend County to earn a gold medal at the SkillsUSA state competition held recently at TSTC in Waco.

“When I heard my name, I could not believe it,” said the 24-year-old. “I know I worked hard preparing for the competition, but it was still a surprise. It was a proud moment.”

The gold medalists will advance to the 2019 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, on June 24-28.

The Houston native earned his gold medal in the SkillsUSA Diesel Technology category, successfully completing an 80-question exam, 10 hands-on skills stations and an interview.

At the competition Escobar had two hours for the written exam and 15 minutes to complete each skills station, which included hands-on projects in areas such as engines, transmissions, electrical, air conditioning and hydraulics.Rene Escobar

“I prepared night and day for SkillsUSA,” said Escobar. “I spent my time at the diesel labs after class and worked closely with my instructors to make sure I was competition ready.”

Escobar said he even downloaded the electronic versions of his textbooks onto his phone so he could study wherever he wanted.

Escobar expects to earn an associate degree in Diesel Equipment Technology in August and said although he was nervous and put in a lot of time preparing, the training he has received while enrolled in the program helped him face SkillsUSA with confidence.

“There were some areas I had to give extra attention to while studying, but for the most part I felt fully prepared because of the training our instructors provide,” said Escobar.

This also was not the Diesel Equipment Technology student’s first rodeo. In fact, he competed in last year’s SkillsUSA competition in the same category and earned a bronze medal.

Escobar said SkillsUSA has allowed him to network with like-minded people and showcase his skills to industry professionals, which has opened up doors of opportunity he never expected to receive.

“SkillsUSA is not only about honing in on technical skills, but also growth as a leader and communicator,” he said. “It’s about preparing us for the workforce and ensuring that we’re well-rounded students and professionals.”

Escobar is already receiving job offers and has a lot to consider.

Escobar added that as someone who had his mind set on automobile mechanics, TSTC’s diesel program and SkillsUSA has opened up a whole new world for him.

“Before TSTC, I was working at auto shops and my parents were pushing me to go back to school, while my uncle was pushing me to pursue diesel mechanics,” he said. “And it was TSTC commercials streaming nonstop on Pandora internet radio that made me research TSTC.”

It was during this research that Escobar discovered he could earn a two-year degree in Diesel Equipment Technology and enter an industry where diesel mechanics are always in demand.

“Diesel mechanics is so broad — there are many areas I could specialize in,” said Escobar. “And all aspects excite me and motivate me. I’m really happy to be where I am today and that Pandora annoyed me with TSTC commercials. It changed my life.”

Statewide, 63 TSTC students earned gold medals during the recent state competition.

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.

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.

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

From university to technical college, TSTC grad finds lifelong career

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Brian Bradley was once a Texas State University Bobcat, yet he never graduated. But now, at 29 years old, he can call himself a graduate of Texas State Technical College.

The Fulshear native graduated Thursday night as a Board of Regents honors graduate, with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average and an associate degree in Cyber Security Technology.

He joined 38 other graduates of TSTC in Fort Bend County who earned either a certificate or an associate degree during the college’s commencement ceremony at the Stafford Centre.

“I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” said Bradley. “The fact that I’m graduating hasn’t sunk in yet, but knowing that I now have a trade, a skill, is an achievement to me.”

Bradley started his college career at Texas State University as a kinesiology major because he enjoyed playing sports and exercising, but he soon realized it wasn’t the best career choice for him.Brian Bradley

Noticing the limited career opportunities that kinesiology would have given him and with a newborn baby, he turned to working.

“At this point, I no longer had a career passion or something that I could say I would be happy doing for the rest of my life,” he said. “So with a new family member came added responsibility, and it was time for me to support my family.”

Bradley worked in the restaurant and bar industries and as a sales representative up until he enrolled at TSTC in 2017.

“I spent too much time working jobs that I never really enjoyed, but I needed to make a decent living,” said Bradley. “Enough was enough. There were too many holidays missed with my family, long shifts and crazy hours. It was time to find a career.”

It was through a friend who built and repaired computers that Bradley first realized his passion for technology and computers.

“We’d get together, and he would show me his work.  even helped in his computer build,” he said. “This is when I realized I could make computers and technology a career.”

He did not take the decision of going back to college lightly. It was going to be a large sacrifice and change for his family of five.

Upon enrolling at TSTC, the family sold their home and moved in with relatives, where they still reside.

“I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive family. They have been on this journey with me since day one,” said Bradley. “But the way we saw it is you must give ground to gain ground. And this was really to give my family a better life.”

Bradley and his family made it through the long nights and financial constraints knowing it would all be worth it in the end.

And worth it it was. Halfway through Bradley’s program of study, he was offered an internship with Frontline Computer Services, whose owner was seeking a TSTC Cyber Security student.

“It all happened rather fast, but I owe this opportunity to my instructor, Alan Sulak,” he said. “Along with the real-world training I received at TSTC and the experience I have gained at Frontline, I feel like I’m prepared and ready to conquer the cyber security industry.”

At Frontline, Bradley has been able to work with small and medium businesses, providing network infrastructure monitoring, network security, hardware repair, and maintenance and technical support.

Frontline is also the place where Bradley will begin his career upon graduating. Ultimately Bradley hopes to work in penetration testing, which is hacking into networks to help companies repair vulnerabilities and protect identities.

“It feels great knowing the opportunities that lie ahead,” he said. “I now have a career, a passion, and I’m on the right path because of TSTC. And I want to tell anyone thinking of pursuing a two-year degree to just do it. Having a skill and trade improves employability and opens doors of opportunity.”

Bradley celebrated his achievement with his wife, children, his father, who is Rosenberg Police Department Sergeant Michael Bradley, and other family members.

More than 1,000 TSTC students will earn a certificate or degree statewide during Spring 2019, joining an alumni network of 100,000 strong.

TSTC student meets challenges head-on in quest for college degree

(FORT BEND COUNTY) – Getting to college and becoming a college graduate was no easy feat for Adam Alvarado, especially without a high school diploma.

But that is all in the past, because the 48-year-old will earn his associate degree in Cyber Security Technology at 6 p.m. on Thursday during TSTC’s Commencement Ceremony at the Stafford Centre.

“I always knew I wanted to become a college graduate. I never thought it would be possible,” said the Rosenberg native. “And it’s still hard for me to believe this is actually happening.”

Alvarado said he grew up in the ‘80s in a predominately white school, where he dealt with a lot of racial issues.

He said this, and the necessity to work, put a damper on his motivation to learn and led him to make poor decisions about his education.

“I’ve had to own my choices. They’ve weighed heavy,” said Alvarado. “I’ve always felt like I’m ‘less than,’ but TSTC has changed that for me. It has built a confidence in me that is hard to explain, but now I feel like I can achieve anything.”Adam Alvarado

Alvarado worked for Frito-Lay for 15 years as a lead and night supervisor, also handling technical issues at the company’s help desk.

“I enjoyed what I did and learned a lot, sparking my interest in technology,” he said. “But not having a college degree hindered any opportunity I had of growing with the company.”

Alvarado said he prayed a lot about making a career change because before he could enroll at TSTC, he needed his General Education Development (GED) diploma.

Determined to succeed, Alvarado soon earned his GED diploma and was able to enroll at TSTC as a Cyber Security Technology student.

“It all happened so fast,” said Alvarado. “I credit a lot of my success to Melanie Pruett, my TSTC enrollment coach, because she helped me kick-start everything.”

He added how intimidated he was by TSTC because he had no high school diploma, but his time at the college has shown him how the seemingly impossible can be possible.

“TSTC was able to turn a man who felt beat down into a career man,” he said. “I can now pursue my passion of computers and technology, thanks to the education and training I received at TSTC.”

Of course, the journey didn’t come without challenges.

“I was no expert on computers coming in,” he said. “My instructors, though, helped me understand everything and always pushed me to keep going and cross that finish line. And because of them, I even became a lab assistant helping other students. It’s funny how things work themselves out.”

The father of four said balancing a family life as a full-time student was demanding, but his religious faith kept him going, and being able to study while his children did their homework kept him motivated.

“My family are my biggest supporters. They supported me throughout my journey,” he said. “I want to be a good example for my kids. They do what they see, so I wanted them seeing me working hard and overcoming obstacles. If I can do it, so can they.”

Alvarado’s experience, however, not only inspired his children, but also his 18 brothers and sisters.

“There are several who always wanted to get their GEDs and even maybe go to college, so I feel like my experience at TSTC has helped me pave the way,” said Alvarado. “TSTC is changing the dynamics of my family and opening doors of opportunity.”

Alvarado is exploring his career options and hopes to work for a surrounding school district’s information technology or networking department. Ultimately he hopes to open a business.

“At the beginning of all of this, I was so nervous,” said Alvarado. “But my life has changed so much, for better, because of TSTC. And I encourage others who think it’s impossible to embrace the challenge and give TSTC a place in their lives.”

 

TSTC Electrical Lineworker instructor earns prestigious award

(FORT BEND COUNTY) – Troy Eads is only two years in as the Electrical Lineworker Technology instructor at Texas State Technical College, but he is already making a lasting impression on his students and colleagues, earning him a 2019 Chancellor’s Excellence Award.

“When I received notification about the award, I had no idea what was going on or what this award meant,” said Eads. “It was definitely a surprise and after learning more about its meaning I am honored to have been thought about so highly by those I work with.”

The Chancellor’s Excellence Award has celebrated employees who exhibit TSTC’s core values of Excellence, Accountability, Service and Integrity for nearly the past two decades.

To receive this award, TSTC employees are nominated by their peers, provosts and vice chancellors, and are chosen for their distinguished service, commitment and dedication to the college, communities and their state for this award.Troy Eads

“The teammates who win this award model excellence for us all and are recognized for both their sound character and for advancing TSTC’s new direction,” said TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser.

“Due to their caring and dedicated efforts, TSTC continues to make a difference in the employment success of our students.”

Eads was selected among 160 faculty and staff members who were nominated and is one of 35 recipients statewide.

Eads arrived at TSTC with extensive experience as a lineworker and employee for American Electric Power (AEP), where he worked for nearly two decades.

At AEP, Eads learned the trade with eight years of AEP school to hone his skills.

“I was 22-years-old when I got to AEP. I had other odd jobs, but this was my career,” said Eads. “This is what I love, where I grew up, but the demands of the job got to me when I hit my forties.”

It was during this period when Eads began looking for something not as tedious, but still doing what he loved.

That’s when he found TSTC and the available instructor position.

“As soon as I set foot on TSTC grounds and I met my supervisor Eric Carithers, it felt like home,” said Eads. “This is where I was supposed to be.”

Despite other interviews Eads had at the time, his heart was set on TSTC.

Eads said he is proud to have been a part of helping the Electrical Lineworker Program grow in the Fort Bend County and Houston area.

“A lot of work and hands went into making this program what it is,” he said. “It was brand new when I came on board. We’re watching it grow and, even better, watching our students grow and gain careers.”

Eads said it’s hard to believe how far he has come, since asking a meter reader one day about his job and taking a leap of faith by applying to AEP with no experience.

“I don’t recommend students get into the career the way I did,” he said. “What took me eight years of training, takes only two years here at TSTC. Plus you get a technical degree, which in the long run leads to more opportunities.”

Eads will be honored in May at the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) awards dinner and celebration in Austin where he and the other Chancellor’s Award recipients will receive their medallions and honors.

U.S. Senator announces legislation to benefit TSTC

(ROSENBERG) – United States Senator Ted Cruz toured Texas State Technical College recently after announcing new legislation that will benefit students who pursue a technical education.

“To keep up with the rest of the world and be competitive we need to continue growing the skilled workforce we need to keep our economy moving forward,” said Cruz. “And this bill, at the Senator Ted Cruz tours TSTC in Fort Bend Countyend of the day, will match people with their passion and work for the state and its industries.”

Cruz introduced the special legislation cited as the “Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act” to TSTC leadership and Fort Bend County industry leaders.

The act establishes tax credits to encourage individual and corporate taxpayers to make scholarship contributions to workforce training organizations, like TSTC.

Contributions can provide students with scholarships for secondary or postsecondary vocational education and training, including preparation and examination costs relating to certificates or credentials, or industry recognized certification or credentialing programs.

Chancellor Mike Reeser said 60 percent of the jobs in Texas require some kind of education beyond high school and half of those require only a certificate or two-year degree like the ones offered at TSTC.

“The beauty of hosting you (Cruz) today is the great impact this new bill can have for these students seeking these opportunities,” said Reeser. “A lot of families struggle to pay for college and having the opportunity to increase the amounts of scholarships for families is absolutely crucial to us expanding the availability of a skilled workforce.”  

After the announcement, Cruz toured the campus and visited technical programs – Electrical Lineworker Technology, Diesel Equipment Technology and Robotics Technology –  in the Industrial Technology Center and Brazos Center.TSTC welcomes Senator Ted Cruz

University.com ranks TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program as best in the state.

He spoke one-on-one with program instructors and students during the tour to get an inside look into the type of skills training TSTC is providing.

TSTC, a leader in technical education statewide, offers more than 60 technical programs of study. And because of its legislative mission, the college has focused its resources and efforts on technical education and emerging technology, and filling the skills gap that exists statewide.

“TSTC is doing a great job at training students to ensure that they can support their families and stand on their own,” said Cruz. “Walking through campus and hearing that employers are knocking on their doors asking for graduates and that they’re earning high-earning careers is impressive.”

After the tour, Cruz sat down with TSTC leadership, TSTC Robotics Technology student Joshua Schott, Electrical Lineworker Technology student Isaac Hughes, and industry leaders such as ExxonMobil, Schlumberger, CenterPoint Energy, Houston Area Safety Council and the George Foundation for a roundtable.

Cruz praised TSTC for the training the college is providing industry in the region. TSTC currently serves more than 500 students, but is expected to grow enrollment to 5,000 within the next decade.  

Cruz also thanked TSTC for giving men and women the critical skills needed to achieve successful careers and expanding educational opportunities for Texas and its residents.

“I’m a fan of technical education and if this legislation is passed this could truly be transformational,” said Cruz. “And it will take time to pass, but once we build a broader coalition and support, this bill it will be a win-win for everyone.”

TWIC Recognizes Five TSTC Technical Programs

(WACO) – Five technical programs at Texas State Technical College were recently recognized by the Office of the Governor’s Texas Workforce Investment Council at a ceremony in Austin.

Associate of Applied Science degree programs for Biomedical Equipment Technology, Electrical Lineworker Technology, Process Operations, Solar Energy Technology and Wind Energy Technology were recognized for merging industry-defined skills standards into hands-on learning.

“Being recognized by the TWIC is the culmination of hard work and dedication of the program leads and instructors,” said Tony Abad, a member of TSTC’s Board of Regents. “The best part is that the students are the real winners.”

With TSTC students learning the skills standards, the programs are meeting the needs of state employers in creating a competitive workforce, according to the TWIC.

Mark Plough, TSTC’s statewide department chair for Biomedical Equipment Technology for the Harlingen and Waco campuses, said it was easy to include the standards in the curriculum.

“Since we have the equipment and the instructors with the background of field experience, I think that helps us a lot,” he said.

Plough said the caliber of students coming into the program is improving.

“The students are more motivated,” he said. “We are able to place our graduates. Our program is recognized as one of the top programs in the country for two-year technical and community college-type programs.”

Eric Carithers, TSTC’s statewide department chair for Electrical Lineworker Technology for the Fort Bend County, Marshall and Waco campuses, credited the Texas Workforce Commission for using industry data to define key skills needed to be successful in technical occupations.

“Being recognized by the TWIC ensures that our students are being taught the most up-to-date and relevant skills in their pathway to the workforce,” Carithers said. “This is a large part of what makes our students from these programs elite to our industry partners.”

Other TSTC programs receiving the recognition are the Process Operations program in Marshall, the Solar Energy Technology program in Waco and the Wind Energy Technology program in Harlingen and Sweetwater.

“With this recognition, students have a state of Texas golden seal on their certificates of completion,” Carithers said. “With this seal, it is stating that our programs are being backed by the governor of Texas. What a wonderful thing to be able to tell a prospective student. Not many people can put that type of credential on their resume.”

Only 23 Texas colleges offer programs with the industry-defined skills standards designation, according to the TWIC.

The TWIC promotes the development of a highly-skilled, well-educated workforce and meets the needs of Texas businesses of all sizes. The TWIC carries out these mandates through strategic planning, reviewing local and state workforce plans and maintaining the Texas Skills Standards system.

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

TWIC Recognizes Five TSTC Technical Programs