Category Archives: Williamson County

TSTC Graduates 12 at First Commencement

(HUTTO) – Texas State Technical College celebrated its first commencement ceremony in Hutto Friday, May 11. Twelve graduates walked the stage in the presence of their family and friends.

“Today is a celebration of our graduates and recognition of all they have accomplished,” TSTC Provost Edgar Padilla said. “Tonight’s ceremony acknowledges the completion of study and dedication by our spring graduates and signifies the beginning of their professional careers.”

TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser was the keynote speaker at the ceremony. He urged the students to keep learning.

“Technology is moving constantly,” Reeser said. “You picked the best school you can possibly attend in terms of technology, but if you want to be an outstanding employee, if you want to be someone that employers treasure and pay well and promote, here’s what you have to know: as technology moves, you must move too.”

Reeser believes that the students learned more than just technical know-how from TSTC.

“You have been taught, by these faculty, not just knowledge and skills, but how to learn,” Reeser said.

Industrial Electrical Systems graduate Eyosias Gemechu was selected for the Provost Award, an award given to a student who has demonstrated high academic performance, exceptional character and student leadership, and who has influenced their peers to strive for excellence.

“I was so excited and nervous at the same time,” Gemechu said. “I wish my mom was able to be here.”

Gemechu plans to continue his education with TSTC.

Welding graduate Cesar Carrillo, who is working as a welder for Jay-Reese Contractors, said he was happy to reach this milestone.

“It feels good,” he said. “It feels like a weight lifted off my back. I’m being shipped off to Iowa Sunday for work.”

TSTC in Williamson County graduates earned degrees in six of the programs offered at the campus — Culinary Arts, Cyber Security, Industrial Electrical Systems, Industrial Maintenance, Precision Machining Technology and Welding.

For more information on TSTC, visit

TSTC to Host First Commencement in Hutto

(HUTTO) – When Quinton Hooper walks the stage next Friday at Texas State Technical College’s first commencement ceremony in Hutto, he’ll be joining a long line of technical workers in his family.

Hooper, an Industrial Maintenance student, previously studied under the Digital Forensics program at the Waco campus but decided to change programs to something a little more familiar.

“Most of my family are mechanics,” Hooper said. “It’s a little closer to what the rest of the family is doing.”

While he enjoyed his time at TSTC in Waco, Hooper enjoys the smaller class sizes in Williamson County.

“Here, there are more one-on-one classes,” he said. “You get more time with the teachers.”

Industrial Maintenance instructor Lance Antilley said he has admired Hooper’s hard work.

“I have known Quinton for the past 16 months,” he said. “He is an outstanding student in all respects. Quinton has proven that through hard work, follow-through and teamwork, he can accomplish tasks in a courteous and timely manner.”

Currently interviewing for jobs, Hooper hopes to find a position where he can travel with work.

“I’d like traveling, going to different countries,” he said. “I hope to get into a company that I’m able to travel around and not stay in one place too long. I’d like to visit Europe.”

Hooper, a native of Maxwell, Texas, is one of 20 students eligible to walk the stage at the 6:30 p.m. ceremony on May 11 at the East Williamson County Higher Education Center.

Hooper advises those considering TSTC not to bite off more than they can chew.

“Don’t get in over your head,” he said. “If you go into a class and you don’t know a lot about it, study more in that class.”

TSTC’s Chancellor, Mike Reeser, will speak at commencement, as well as Robb Misso, president and CEO of Dynamic Manufacturing Solutions in Austin.

TSTC is registering now for the fall semester. The last day to register is Monday, Aug. 20, and classes begin Monday, Aug. 27.

For more information on TSTC, visit

Local Students Learn about Career Options at Taylor Trades Day

(HUTTO) – Texas State Technical College set up at the Taylor Trades Day Career Fair to meet local students and educate the public on the college’s programs.

The event was a collaboration between the Taylor Chamber of Commerce and the Taylor Economic Development Corporation. Area companies represented industries such as plumbing, automotive, energy services and machining.

Chamber President and CEO Tia Stone said they hoped the event would teach area students about technical education opportunities after high school.

“Our goal is to get local kids connected with TSTC and local businesses before they’re out of high school, so they can recruit them, so they can train them,” Stone said.

Texas State Technical College offers a variety of educational avenues in over 60 technical fields and has 10 campuses across the state. The college’s Williamson County campus in Hutto offers pathways in Culinary Arts, Cyber Security, HVAC, Industrial Electrical Systems, Industrial Maintenance, Precision Machining and Welding.

All seven programs available at TSTC’s campus in Hutto set up presentation tables to catch the attention of passing students.

“These guys are here today because they have some things that can get kids excited,” Stone said. “We’ve got to spark their imaginations. We’ve got to get them thinking that these are viable fields. Having people here who are excited about what they do and can show kids what they do really helps. The earlier we can do it, the more they have time to think about it.”

With many open jobs in the city, and the TEDC hoping to bring more companies into the area, Stone hopes that local businesses and TSTC can get Taylor residents trained to enter the skilled workforce.

“One of the things we’re trying to do is to be sure that we have a well-educated workforce and that we have a workforce that’s ready, to get businesses in here,” Stone said. “That’s our goal. It’s about filling the jobs now, but also filling the jobs that are coming. Taylor’s a working town.”

Regina Carlson, program manager at Taylor Economic Development Corporation, said the city currently has 200 jobs that need to be filled. Carlson said the TECD noticed the shortage as they were trying to fill industrial and manufacturing openings of their own.

“When we were trying to recruit, we realized that we had all these other people looking for these workers also,” Carlson said. “We have to have the workforce in order to recruit them here and to take care of them.”

Carlson said she wanted to make sure the local students knew that learning a trade is a viable option for them.

Stone echoed Carlson’s sentiments.

“That work’s not for everybody, but there are people that this is the right thing for,” she said. “These jobs that we’re highlighting​ ​– most of them have good benefits and most of them have good salaries.”

TSTC is registering now for the fall semester. For more information on TSTC, visit

TSTC to Host First Commencement Ceremony in Hutto

(HUTTO) – Texas State Technical College in Williamson County will host its first commencement ceremony Friday, May 11. Twenty students representing six of the Hutto campus’ seven programs are eligible to graduate.

The ceremony will be at 6:30 p.m. at the East Williamson County Higher Education Center.

“We are exceptionally proud to be hosting our first graduation ceremony on campus in Hutto this spring,” said TSTC Provost Edgar Padilla. “As we’ve grown as a campus, we’ve worked to find ways to show our students how much they mean to us, and this is just another way for us to ensure we’re celebrating their accomplishments locally.”

Padilla says the ceremony honors the work of the students.

“We’re delighted to offer commencement locally so our students do not have to drive far to celebrate with their families,” he said. “In addition, our faculty and staff who work so hard to get our students to the finish line will now have the opportunity to see the fruit of their labor. It’s very positive for our campus culture.”

Padilla said he is excited to see the students begin working.

“Our students are exceptionally trained and very valuable in the workforce,” he said. “We’re proud that we will uphold the 50-plus-year tradition of TSTC providing a quality workforce to Texas.”

TSTC’s Chancellor, Mike Reeser, will speak at commencement, as well as Robb Misso, president and CEO of Dynamic Manufacturing Solutions in Austin.

TSTC is registering now for the fall semester. The last day to register is Monday, Aug. 20, and classes begin Monday, Aug. 27.

For more information on TSTC, visit

TSTC Welcomes New Recruiter

(HUTTO) – Texas State Technical College in Williamson County welcomed a new recruiter last month. Jessica Spencer joined the team mid-March.

Spencer grew up in Hutto and graduated from Hutto High School. After graduating she went straight to work.

“Before here I worked in an office — I love communicating with people,” she said. “Before that I was working with kids, and I loved to change people’s lives. That’s the main thing I enjoy — making an impact on someone’s life. Even if it isn’t the biggest impact, any kind is amazing.”

Before she began at TSTC, Spencer helped her boyfriend, David, enroll in the college’s welding program. She appreciates TSTC’s hands-on teaching.

“In high school I wasn’t the best student at staring at a book all day, so I love that aspect,” she said. “I love the opportunity that it’s given David to follow his dream, and I’m ready for TSTC to help me follow mine.”

She is excited to help influence students to reach their potential.

“I just did my first tour by myself, and it was pretty awesome,” she said. “Talking to people and changing people’s lives — it’s pretty cool.”

Melissa Zamora, TSTC’s coordinator of Student Recruitment, said she is excited that Jessica has joined the team and is happy that she brings a wealth of local knowledge with her.

“She is a Hutto native, has gone through the local educational system and graduated from Hutto High School,” Zamora said. “Residing now in Taylor, Jessica brings knowledge of the Hutto (school) system, as well as an insight into the Taylor district, that can help bridge the communities in order to help get the word out on our Williamson County location.”

TSTC Provost Edgar Padilla said campus growth has brought a need to expand the team.

“Our recruitment capacity is growing by leaps and bounds in Williamson County,” he said. “We’ve seen an increased level of metric-driven strategy and enthusiasm for our mission. We welcome Jessica to our team and know she’ll play a critical role in the success of our campus. Great things are happening in Hutto.”

TSTC prides itself on being “a great place to work” and is currently hiring for positions at its 10 campuses statewide. For information on open positions at TSTC, visit

TSTC Students Bused to Waco for Job Fair

(HUTTO) – More than a dozen Texas State Technical College students from the East Williamson County Higher Education Center made their way to TSTC in Waco Thursday, March 22, for the college’s annual Industry Job Fair.

Over 100 employers attended the event looking to meet, interview and possibly hire students from TSTC’s programs.

This was the first year that the college’s Williamson County campus had bused students to the job fair.

“For years now, it’s been an issue of transportation,” said TSTC Provost Edgar Padilla. “We’re trying to do what we can for our students.”

TSTC field development officer Michael Smith echoed those sentiments.

“I heard from several different instructors over the year that either they had to drive them up there or they (students) had to drive on their own, and how it would be neat if we had a bus,” Smith said. “I heard that over and over, and so I told Edgar, ‘I think we should do a bus this year,’ and we started researching the cost.”

Ellis & Salazar Automotive & Collision volunteered to sponsor the bus to help the students reach more opportunities.

“We’re working with Ellis & Salazar on a different project, so I mentioned it to them and said this would really help us,” Smith said.

Smith hopes the students had a positive experience at the event.

“They’re getting to meet with these companies and see the full range of services that TSTC offers,” he said. “It’s not just coming to class and going home. Career Services will be out there to help and answer resume questions, and all the other pieces that go into making sure they’re prepared for a job when they leave. Ultimately the goal is for them to leave with a job.”

Cyber Security student Jeremiah Southern was well prepared for the event.

“I had my resumes ready and researched the companies that were there to see what positions they had open and learn about their backgrounds,” Southern said. “Some of the companies that were there, even though they weren’t there specifically looking for what my particular field will be, it just takes asking. In IT and networking, there’s always something that could be available. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.”

Southern enjoyed the event overall and found some promising opportunities to follow up on.

“There were a lot of companies and a lot of students,” he said. “It was my first time going to a job fair, and I look forward to going to more. There were some great opportunities with the Civilian Air Force and Aerotek. Aerotek specifically said they need Cisco people, so that was really promising.”

TSTC will begin registering students for the summer and fall semesters on Monday, April 2. For more information on the college, visit

TSTC hosts annual counselor update

(HUTTO) – Texas State Technical College hosted its annual Dual Enrollment Counselor Update and Luncheon Wednesday, March 21.

High school counselors, administrators and teachers from the surrounding area attended the event, which was held at the East Williamson County Higher Education Center.

Megan McBride, dual enrollment advisor at TSTC, stressed the need for the updates.

“It’s important that we hold these events so we can educate the counselors about dual enrollment statewide, not just for TSTC, but from the TEA (Texas Education Agency) and the Higher Education Coordinating Board standpoints also,” she said.

Marina Wilcox, TSTC vice president of dual enrollment, spoke about the importance of two Texas House bills: one that impacts the way high school students choose courses with a career goal in mind, and another that requires high schools to improve student performance.

Wilcox also elaborated on some of the dual enrollment programs offered by the college.

“If you go to the Texas Workforce Commission website, there’s this really cool thing called Career Check,” Wilcox said in her presentation. “If you look at Industrial Maintenance with a Certificate I, you start out with a salary of $53,000. It’s a high-tech field that’s very skilled, and we offer pathways in that.”

TSTC representatives also covered new forms and changes in the admissions process and general business for the 2018-19 academic year.

“We’ve simplified our processes,” McBride said. “We’re also working more closely with admissions to streamline those processes. Most importantly, we’ve updated the dual enrollment website, and that’s a huge improvement for us.”

Earlier this year, TSTC announced new, fully online pathways in Cyber Security, Digital Media Design, and Computer-Aided Drafting and Design. Health Information Technology was the first program to go completely online.

“Pretty much all of the West Texas high schools that partner with us have opted for these programs since they’re so spread out,” McBride said. “With us, the majority are opting in for these online pathways as well.”

For more information on TSTC and its dual enrollment program, visit

Annual TSTC in Williamson County Open House a Success

(HUTTO) – Texas State Technical College in Williamson County held its annual open house Friday, opening its campus for tours and meetings with faculty. The event, designed for prospective students who want to learn more about the college, hosted more than 300 visitors.

TSTC coordinator of student recruitment Melissa Zamora said the event was a success.

“I think it was a great opportunity for us to get TSTC in Williamson County on the map,” Zamora said.

Zamora said the program tours were a popular part of the day.

“The demos and all the information they provided, along with our college fair, really did showcase what we offer,” she said. “I think it actually showed the students why they should commit to this location in particular.”

TSTC Provost Edgar Padilla said the college changed some things up this year to provide a new experience for visitors and for TSTC.

“We tried some new things this year that we felt would be successful in terms of bringing in more students and more applications,” Padilla said. “We had a great mix of both traditional students coming from schools with their teachers as well as individuals coming with parents. We feel it was a very successful day.”

TSTC employees came from the college’s Fort Bend County, Marshall, North Texas and Waco campuses to help make the event a success.

“We had staff from across the state join us to assist our students in serving lunch, submitting applications and answering any questions they had about the college admissions process,” Padilla said. “We’re very proud of the team that pulled together to make it happen.”

Sam McCutchen, college and career readiness counselor with Georgetown High School, said the school brought 29 students to the event.

“They had a blast,” McCutchen said. “It broadened their horizons. They learned about opportunities that they didn’t have a clue about, and they were amazed at how convenient this was to where they live. Now they know this is an option for them.”

TSTC will begin registering students for the summer and fall semesters on Monday, April 2. For more information on the college, visit

TSTC Graduate Inspired to Pursue Bachelor’s Degree

(HUTTO) – Texas State Technical College Welding graduate Coltin Wiesner has been accepted to Texas A&M in College Station to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Science.

Wiesner hopes his welding background will help him excel in his new degree plan.

“A lot of times ag teaches both the welding and the animal portions of it,” he said. “The welding will definitely help and will move over into that.”

Wiesner graduated from TSTC with a 3.2 GPA and finds it one of his greatest accomplishments at TSTC.

“I’m proud of earning my associate degree and the lifelong connections I made while doing so,” he said. “In my family, I’m the first one. My mom went to college for a semester, but my grandfather died and it was horrible for her. For me, it’s almost honoring them. I came from a background of farming and ranching; you complete high school and that was it. You went into the field. It’s just honoring that I’m going into something that they came from Germany to do and to make a new life.”

Having been inspired by his high school FFA class, Wiesner hopes to become an agriculture teacher one day.

“I would love to share my FFA experience with others,” he said. “I wasn’t in it for four years like the traditional kid; I was a band kid. Moving over, you don’t know anybody. I met amazing people there who I am still friends with today; they’re lifelong friends. Moving over into that program and having those people there helped me get comfortable. It made me who I am today.”

Wiesner said TSTC Welding instructor A. Keith Wojcik also played a part in his decision to teach.

“My welding instructor, Keith Wojcik — words can’t describe how much I’ve learned from the greatest man I have ever met,” he said. “How much he enjoys teaching people to weld after so long in the business is great. I like the creative part of welding, where you can just make something. That’s something he was really good about him. He would just say, ‘Do it.’ He wants you to succeed. He couldn’t have been any happier when I got accepted to A&M.”

Wiesner hopes to transfer that ideology into his teaching style as well.

“I love animals, I always have, and how much I enjoyed it is something I want to share with other people.”

Wiesner’s advice to those interested in continuing their education is to be productive and to persevere.

“This may sound corny and repetitive,” he said. “However, keeping up with your work and not slacking shows and pays off.”

TSTC will host its annual Open House from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, March 9. For more information on the college and its programs, visit

EWCHEC to Host Faculty Job Fair

(HUTTO)  – Texas State Technical College and Temple College will host a faculty job fair from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25, at the East Williamson County Higher Education Center. The colleges are seeking faculty for academic and technical positions.

“Both Temple College and TSTC are in need of instructors and a candidate pool, and this will be a great opportunity for us to showcase our employment opportunities,” said TSTC Provost Edgar Padilla.

TSTC is looking to hire in the areas of HVAC, Precision Machining and Welding. Temple College is seeking instructors in all programs.

“EWCHEC offers great teaching opportunities for people who would like to teach during the day, in the evenings or during the summer,” said Temple College Director Robbin Ray.

Human resources representatives from both colleges will be available to answer questions and assist with applications.

The East Williamson County Higher Education Center is located at 1600 Innovation Blvd. in Hutto.  Anyone who is qualified to teach college-level courses is encouraged to attend. Both full-time and part-time positions are available.

For more information, call 512-759-5900.