Category Archives: All TSTC

TSTC Ready to Welcome Students Back This Fall in Marshall

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Students attending Texas State Technical College’s Marshall campus will see differences in how they learn and interact as they start the fall semester on Monday, Aug. 31.

Nathan Cleveland, TSTC’s associate provost, said students will notice lots of signage pertaining to campus health and safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students will also see directional signs for building entrances and exits.

Furniture has been removed from popular gathering spots for students in the Administration Building and South Building.

“It is hard to manage and watch over that to where they are minding their spacing,” Cleveland said.

One of the biggest changes is how classes will be taught, which first began being modified in mid-March.

The college’s first-semester college readiness class and academic courses will be taught online.

Programs that will be taught in an all-online format are Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology, Business Management Technology, Computer Networking and Systems Administration, Computer Programming Technology and Cybersecurity.

“The instructors are actually holding virtual classrooms through Google Meet or Webex, so the students have a class they meet for,” Cleveland said.

Programs that will be taught in a hybrid format are Automation and Controls Technology, Diesel Equipment Technology, Electrical Lineworker Technology, Industrial Systems, Precision Machining Technology, Process Operations and Welding Technology.

Tutoring will be available virtually. Students will need to go to TSTC’s student portal and click on the tutoring icon to fill out a form requesting help. Tutoring staff will connect students virtually to statewide tutors in their subject area.

Cleveland said students can come to campus by appointment when needed to meet with instructors. Faculty members will also have virtual office hours. Campus visitors will only be allowed in the Administration Building.

The campus bookstore will be fully operational only for the campus community. Discussions continue about whether to open, even partially, the campus Learning Resource Center. Cleveland said students can use the campus Wi-Fi from their vehicles parked near the buildings.

Students will encounter a different campus residential experience this fall.

“Campus housing will be following statewide protocols, with social distancing and no visitation during COVID-19,” said TSTC’s Director II of Student Life Hubert Staten. “We plan to use email, texting and phone to communicate during this time. Online activities are planned also. We want to keep housing as safe as possible.”

One thing that has not changed is the college’s commitment to its students.

TSTC’s Career Services will hold weekly online workshops for students to learn about a range of subjects, from resume writing to interview skills.

“The interview practicum and the Industry Job Fair for the fall semester will be virtual,” said Hannah Luce, Career Services’ director of planning and special events. “As of now, we will be on campus from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursdays, and this is subject to change at any time, but we will still be available virtually anytime the students need assistance.”

Registration for the fall semester continues.

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

TSTC Welding Technology Program in Marshall Ready to Welcome Students This Fall

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Welding Technology program will continue to teach in a hybrid format this fall. Students will listen to lectures online and participate in hands-on labs on campus.

“Welding is by far one of our most popular programs, and it’s easy to see why,” said Barton Day, provost at TSTC’s Marshall campus. “Employment opportunities remain strong. The starting pay is terrific. And let’s face it, it’s truly an art form. If you have a creative side, this might be right up your alley.”

The campus offers a structural welding certificate, and this fall it will debut a structural and pipe welding certificate.

“I think the advanced pipe course is going to make this one of the most productive semesters ever,” said Philip Miller, a TSTC Welding Technology program instructor. “I am excited to see our returning students take the skills they have learned to new levels.”

Monica Pfarr, executive director of the American Welding Society Foundation in Miami, said the skill sets in high demand in Texas are gas metal arc welding and gas tungsten arc welding. She said most welding jobs in Texas are in the architectural and structural metals manufacturing sector.

“We are doing all we can to promote the careers in the industry,” Pfarr said. “It’s not just welders, but also technicians, inspectors and engineers are in high demand. We are doing what we can to really change the perception of the occupation.”

There is a demand for workers to fill welding jobs in East Texas. Rush Harris, director of business services at the Marshall Economic Development Corp., said pipeline companies, manufacturers and small metal facilities need welders and millwrights.

“Employment for welders is relatively stable, with a slight overall decline of -0.3% yearly over the next 10 years,” Harris said. “The replacement of exits and transfers will be important to maintain an adequate welder demand in the labor force over the next 10 years.”

Harris said there is a need now for more than 200 welders within a 45-minute radius of Marshall. The average annual wage for welders in the area is at least $43,000, he said.

As of this writing, Indeed.com showed that Worley in Longview had job openings for a structural welder, a pipefitter and a pipefitter helper. The Australia-based company specializes in construction, engineering and procurement for the chemical, mining, minerals and power sectors.

“We continue to see growth in the demand for craft professionals,” said Carol Peters, Worley’s external communications and media manager. “However, qualified welders remain hard to find. Collaborative partnerships with academia, government, contractors and business owners are crucial in building a solid base of skilled workers for the future. The time to accelerate training is now.”

The company has adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing the use of technology in its hiring process, improving communication processes with employees and their families, and using an online project-staffing system that publishes internal and external employment opportunities.

Texas had more than 50,000 workers earning an annual mean wage of more than $46,000 in May 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Woodlands-Houston-Sugar Land area had the highest concentration of workers in the state with more than 18,000, while the Longview area had more than 1,000 workers.

Jobs for welders, cutters, solderers and brazers are projected to rise to more than 439,000 up to 2028, according to the labor bureau. This is attributed to repairs being made to the nation’s infrastructure and construction on pipelines and power generation facilities.

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

TSTC Welding Technology Program Ready to Fill Jobs

(WACO, Texas) – The health protocols undertaken in Texas State Technical College’s Welding Technology program are not only keeping students safe, but also teaching a lesson.

Program faculty have designated entrances and exits for TSTC’s Industrial Technology Center, along with enacting social distancing, sanitizing and requiring masks. These measures will continue during the fall semester, which is scheduled to begin Monday, Aug. 31.

“The word is getting out that no matter how you will be learning about welding, this is the way you will be learning in the field,” said Jerome Mendias, TSTC’s associate provost.

The Welding Technology program will continue to teach in a hybrid format. Students will use Moodle for online lessons, quizzes and tests and do hands-on labs on campus.

Beginning this fall, the program will offer a three-class Occupational Skills Award in Basic Welding – Multiple Processes. The classes will take four months to complete, enabling students to go into the job market with new skills.

The OSA is one way to meet the employment needs of Texas.

“It is fast-paced,” said Carl Wilmeth, a lead instructor in TSTC’s Welding Technology program. “Nontraditional students that do not have the extra time can come in and get 15 weeks of training, get what they need and start doing job interviews.”

Monica Pfarr, executive director of the American Welding Society Foundation, said the skill sets in highest demand in Texas are gas metal arc welding and gas tungsten arc welding. She said the most welding jobs in Texas are in the architectural and structural metals manufacturing sector.

“We are doing all we can to promote the careers in the industry,” Pfarr said. “It’s not just welders, but also technicians, inspectors and engineers are in high demand. We are doing what we can to really change the perception of the occupation.”

Scott Kitchen, an apprenticeship coordinator for Iron Workers Local Union 66 in San Antonio, said workers who are good at shielded metal arc welding are in demand throughout Central Texas.

Kitchen said the union can work with new members to develop and improve their welding skills. The goal is for all members to earn American Welding Society-backed certifications and endorsements to progress in the workplace.

Texas had more than 50,000 workers earning an annual mean wage of more than $46,000 in May 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Woodlands-Houston-Sugar Land area had the highest concentration of workers in the state with more than 18,000, while the Waco area had more than 400 workers.

Jobs for welders, cutters, solderers and brazers are projected to rise to more than 439,000 up to 2028, according to the labor bureau. This is being attributed to repairing the nation’s infrastructure and helping to build pipelines and power generation facilities.

“It is an excellent time to consider welding,” Kitchen said. “A lot of the other welders are retiring.”

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

TSTC Electrical Power and Controls instructor’s goal is for students to join workforc

(ABILENE, Texas) – Texas State Technical College Electrical Power and Controls instructor Kevin Staton has one goal for his students.

“We are training Texans to work in Texas,” he said. “When students graduate from our program, they can work in almost any state or foreign country. Anywhere there is control work, there is a job for our students.”

The demand for electrical power and controls technicians is always high, and TSTC offers a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree program at the Abilene, Fort Bend County, North Texas and Waco campuses.

In West Texas, Staton has seen the need for technicians at several utility companies, including Taylor Electric Cooperative, American Electric Power and Oncor. He said some students have found employment at warehouses in Texas, including for Amazon.

“West Texas, and especially Abilene, is growing. Things are getting bigger, and companies are looking to expand,” he said.

He said utility companies will need someone to work on transformers, and TSTC provides training for that.

“We offer more than just one area of study,” Staton said. “We teach a wide variety of programs that are in the electrical field.”

He said another area is substation operations, and students will also learn how that process works.

Students have access to labs that include industry-standard electrical distribution, transmission, equipment testing, automation, instrumentation motion-control tools, transformers and electrical motors.

Staton said the first thing students learn is the importance of safety.

“Safety is the key to being a good technician,” he said.

Staton said he not only teaches in the classroom and lab. If a student needs extra help after class, he is willing to help.

“When I was younger, someone always helped me. I want to make sure to do that now. I want to be able to give back and help the students,” he said. “I take pride in being flexible to help students.”

Staton tells prospective students that the program offers a guarantee.

“We are part of TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee program. That proves that we want to make things happen for our students,” he said.

The Money-Back Guarantee program refunds the tuition of participating graduates if they do not find a job in their career field within six months of graduation.

“In my two years at TSTC, we have had a high success rate in finding (welding) graduates a job. Only one did not find a job after six months, but it was because he chose another career path,” Staton said.

Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information, go to tstc.edu.

Sparks fill TSTC Welding Technology lab this summer

(BRECKENRIDGE, Texas) – Sparks from welding torches were a daily occurrence this summer at Texas State Technical College’s Breckenridge campus.

Students have been completing labs in preparation for entering the workforce when they receive their certificates. But the work does not stop once the torches are laid down.

For Ethan Hammond and Zane Fitch, a career path has been blazed.

“TSTC has helped me with more than just learning to weld things. They have helped me write a resume and given me advice on how to approach job interviews,” Fitch said. “I know what to expect during a job interview, thanks to the people at TSTC.”

That knowledge was one of the reasons Hammond chose to attend TSTC. The Cisco native said having someone help in the job interview process was important.

“Because of TSTC, I have my resume built right now,” he said.

Fitch said he first found interest in welding while helping his brother-in-law on a job site. He said TSTC was the route he wanted to take because of the hands-on training.

“I decided that I wanted to go to school and get a certificate. I knew that would open up more job opportunities for me,” he said. “The hands-on approach offered here is great for us. We are able to learn things and put our knowledge to use.”

Hammond has already put some of his skills to use by welding barbecue pits. He knows that this career path will benefit his family in the long run.

“This is a career in which you can actually work for yourself,” he said. “I have done that with some projects after class.”

Instructor Stephen Hope said his goal is to see the students succeed.

It has been exciting to see all the students come in and know little to nothing about welding. To be able to help them understand the fundamentals and see the students succeed is such an amazing goal,” he said.

Hammond said the Breckenridge campus has the perfect learning environment for future welders.

“We have 30 (welding) bays here, and it runs efficiently,” he said. “Our class is small, but the work we do pays off. I think people interested in a welding career should consider coming here.”

Hammond was drawn to the Breckenridge campus because it offered the program in a small town like his hometown of Cisco.

“This is a nice campus for the community. I wanted to go to a smaller campus, and this was the one that caught my attention,” Hammond said.

Hope said he appreciates the work the students put in and knows the ultimate goal is at the end of the program.

“Working for TSTC has been such a wonderful experience. The greatest part is being able to watch the students graduate and pursue their new careers,” he said.

Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information, go to tstc.edu.

TSTC Cybersecurity Program Ready to Teach New Students This Fall

(HUTTO, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Cybersecurity program at the Williamson County campus is shifting all teaching and labs online this fall.

The prospect of reaching prospective students in the Austin area and beyond to teach them about computer systems forensics, digital forensics, routers and other topics is proving exciting to Joshua Schier, the program’s lead instructor.

“When winds of change are blowing, the best thing you can do is accept it and adapt to the current condition,” he said. “And as the year of the coronavirus has put many of us in this situation, it does not have to be all doom and gloom. This is actually a fantastic opportunity. The obvious step for us was to enhance and improve our online teaching methodologies and curriculum.”

Doug Peters, a TSTC Cybersecurity instructor, said students taking classes online can help themselves adjust to doing the remote work that a lot of them could encounter in  the workplace. He said creating accountability will be a component of all classes, from gathering at regular times online to turning homework in on time.

New to the program this fall will be a one-semester Occupational Skills Award in Basic Cybersecurity consisting of three classes. The student can complete this in four months.

“This will fast-track Texans into entry-level roles in a new career or provide specialized training for Texans to advance in their current field,” Schier said.

Cara DiMattina-Ryan, chief strategy officer for Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area in Cedar Park, said Burnet, Caldwell and Llano counties, along with other rural counties in Central Texas, are increasing broadband capability for residents. She said this could drive more people to study cybersecurity and other programs online and hopefully make it possible for them to work in their home counties.

Brian Hernandez, Workforce Solutions’ communications director, said there are more than 800 network and computer systems administrator jobs open and more than 500 information security analyst positions open in the agency’s 10-county area.

“The more certifications you add on, the more you increase your value and demand for services,” he said. “We would much rather develop our local workforce to move them from under-employment to gainful employment.”

Schier said the key to Williamson County’s Cybersecurity graduates getting good-paying jobs in the region is by word of mouth. He cited Contigo Technology in Austin as an example of an area company that has hired TSTC program graduates. 

DiMattina-Ryan said Workforce Solutions has found several California tech companies are starting to consider moving to Texas, specifically the Greater Austin area.

“As that increases, that will also increase job potential and diversify those skills that we need in these kinds of cyber areas and these information technology fields in general,” she said.

Texas had more than 10,400 information security analysts earning an annual mean wage of $108,810 in May 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Austin-Round Rock area employed more than 1,500 information security analysts making an annual mean wage of $114,280 in May 2019, according to the agency.

The need for information security analysts is expected to rise to more than 147,000 through 2028, according to the agency. The need for workers is attributed to companies having to fight sophisticated hackers in order to protect sensitive information.

“If you are interested in this kind of field, I think it is the absolutely right time to explore,” DiMattina-Ryan said. “What a great profession you can do all online. COVID-19 is changing the landscape of how we are doing business and how we are looking at business.”

TSTC’s Cybersecurity programs at the Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas and Waco campuses also will move online this fall. The online Digital Forensics Specialist advanced technical certificate will expand to these campuses, including Williamson County.

Registration for the fall semester is underway.

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

Partnership opens TSTC Nursing program to Breckenridge High School students

(BRECKENRIDGE, Texas) – Seven Breckenridge High School seniors will get a head start toward a nursing career this fall.

A partnership between Texas State Technical College, Breckenridge ISD and the Breckenridge Economic Development Corp. was formed to provide Nursing program classes at TSTC’s Breckenridge campus. The students’ tuition for the four classes will be paid by the Breckenridge EDC.

“We are excited to rekindle our partnership with TSTC. First we had a partnership with the welding program, and now we are partnering with the LVN program,” said Breckenridge High School principal William Paul. “The goal of any high school is to prepare kids for their next step in life. This partnership fills that need for students to be career ready.”

The students will take two classes in the fall, Essentials of Medical Terminology and Essentials of Medication Administration. In the spring, the classes will be Foundations of Nursing and Pharmacology.

Instructor Marchelle Taylor said the four classes will show students what to expect in the nursing field.

“This will give the students the chance to do the basic learning here,” she said. “They will be able to get credit when they pass the course and will be one step closer to applying for a nursing program.”

Virgil Moore, CEO and executive director of the Breckenridge EDC, said paying the tuition is an investment into the community.

“This is an investment on our part to put skilled people in the workforce at our hospitals and clinics in Stephens County,” he said. “What TSTC provides to our community is a tremendous asset. Therefore, funding scholarships for these students to take classes was an easy decision. It was an investment in our future.”

Paul said having the Breckenridge EDC as a partner was a perfect fit.

“Virgil and the EDC have been great partners throughout this process. They helped make this possible for our students,” he said.

Vocational nurses are in high demand in the Breckenridge area and throughout Texas. Paul said having the partnership will help fill those positions.

“This partnership not only helps us locally, but it helps our regional workforce. Hopefully we can keep them in the region after they graduate,” he said.

Paul said the Texas Education Agency push for career pathways helped lead to the partnership. TSTC was a natural fit because of the nursing program and being in the same community, he said.

“In talking with TSTC, the health care field — especially nurses — met the needs of our region in West-Central Texas,” he said. “We gauged the students’ interest, and I am hoping we can continue this program.”

Taylor said TSTC’s administration wanted to grow the nursing program in Breckenridge. This pilot program could lead to opportunities with other school districts, she said.

Now that the Texas Board of Nursing has approved the program, Taylor said she is ready for the online classes to begin.

“I am excited to see how this goes. I hope we can open it up to other schools in our area,” she said.

Moore said he is pleased to see local students attending the TSTC campus and working toward a career.

“This is a great opportunity for our high school students. This allows them to get a head start on pursuing a nursing career,” he said.

Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information, go to tstc.edu.

Instructor’s love for automobiles drives him to career at TSTC

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Miguel Zoleta’s passion for transmissions and engines revved his gears right into a position at Texas State Technical College, where he is now a lead instructor in the Automotive Technology program.

Jobs in the automotive industry are growing rapidly. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field is predicted to continue climbing because of new technology. This means that more mechanics are needed to figure out what is happening under the hood of a vehicle when the inevitable check engine light comes on. Instructors like Zoleta are making it possible for TSTC to provide the Lone Star State with mechanics who are ready to get Texans back on the road.

What do you enjoy about working with students?

I enjoy seeing students succeed.  Many of them come into the program without knowing anything about cars, and they graduate with lots of knowledge and confidence that they will do good things in their careers.  There is nothing more rewarding than having graduates come back to visit and tell you how thankful they are for what you taught them and describe how well they are doing in the industry.

What inspired you to get into this career path and higher education?

I have always enjoyed working on cars. After high school I enrolled in Automotive Technology here at TSTC. My learning experience was awesome. I enjoyed how all the instructors made you feel like family. After graduating I went on to work in the diesel industry, and after a few years I received the opportunity to come back to TSTC.

Do you have any advice for students considering this path?

The automotive industry is growing in many different ways. This is a great career with many opportunities to be very successful.  I encourage anyone interested to come in for a tour of our Automotive Technology program so that they can see firsthand what we have to offer here at TSTC.

Curious about getting your hands under the hood of a vehicle? Visit https://www.tstc.edu/programs/AutomotiveTechnology to learn more about Automotive Technology at TSTC.

 

TSTC Nursing alumna proves that heroes wear scrubs and stethoscopes

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Tracey Cash is a prime example that it is never too late to follow another passion.

After spending 30 years as a hair stylist, and nine as a real estate agent, she set her sights on health care and began her journey into nursing at Texas State Technical College. She is now in her seventh year as a nurse after graduating with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing from TSTC.

“I have always had occupations that help people,” she said. “When I was a hair stylist, I helped people feel beautiful, and when I was in real estate, I helped people buy and sell homes.”

Cash’s affinity for giving is what led her to nursing.

“When I decided to change careers, I wanted to continue to help people while also having stability. I decided that the health care industry is where I could accomplish that; it’s the best decision I have ever made.”

Though she graduated in 2013, she still holds dear the support she received during her time at TSTC.

“My time there prepared me for the exams I needed to take to receive my credentials,” she said. “All the instructors and leadership of the Nursing program encouraged me and supported me every step of the way.”

Cash is also one of the many health care heroes on the frontline of the current fight against COVID-19.

“One patient I had in particular is a friend of mine,” she said. “She was very sick, and I was assigned to be her nurse. She was at a point where she wanted to give up, and I went into her room and told her I was her nurse for the day. Her face lit up like a light. Afterward, she told me that I was her spark that she needed to continue the fight. She is now at home continuing her COVID-19 recovery. That made me feel accomplished.”

TSTC Associate Provost Jean Lashbrook reiterated that Cash has the perseverance and spirit to continue thriving in her career as a nurse.

“She has always been an individual that will not give up,” Lashbrook said. “She has always worked very hard for everything she has and wants to attain.”

“Nursing school is tough,” Lashbrook added. “She worked very hard throughout both programs, with no hill too high to climb. Now Tracey’s in a climate where she is certainly the hero to many patients. I know, without a doubt, she is giving them her all.”

Cash has advice for others who one day want to be a nurse and a beam of light for their patients.

“Become a nurse with passion and compassion,” she said. “Become a nurse to be part of the change in a person’s life.”

Fall registration is currently underway. To learn more about TSTC’s Nursing program, visit https://www.tstc.edu/programs/Nursing.

 

TSTC workforce training gives Texans edge in job market

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – The need for essential skills in the Texas job market is rapidly growing, caused in part by a skills gap between the number of available jobs and the number of skilled workers ready to fill them.

The Workforce Training department at Texas State Technical College aims to close that gap by providing students with the tools necessary to succeed in the Texas workforce.

“Workforce training caters to a population that does not necessarily have time for college but wants the job training,” said TSTC Executive Director of Workforce Training and Continuing Education Victor Blalack, who serves both the Harlingen and Fort Bend County campuses.

The training can also help individual companies and businesses by evaluating their needs and then developing specialized curricula to upskill their employees.

Blalack said that the changing job market makes the training an advantage for individuals who want to maintain a fresh batch of skills.

“Those who go through workforce training typically want better employment opportunities,” he said. “Most of our trainees have already been employed somewhere and are looking to add an additional set of skills to their resume.”

Blalack stated that the training can be not only beneficial, but also vital.

“We are essential because we target those who simply do not have the time to spend two or four years in college,” he said. “We complement TSTC on the mission to place Texans in better-paying jobs.”

To learn more, visit https://www.tstc.edu/workforce/home.