Category Archives: Marshall

TSTC Cyber Security Program Advises Caution When Upgrading Mobile Phones

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Consumers need to keep personal security in mind when transitioning to new mobile phones.

Amy Hertel, an instructor in Texas State Technical College’s Cyber Security program in Marshall, said people need to know that information on their mobile phones does not disappear. She advised people not to sell their old phones themselves because stored information can be easily interpreted by tech-savvy people.

“Until it is overwritten, it is there,” Hertel said. “If you hook it up to a computer and have the right software, you can pull that stuff right off.”

Some people will switch mobile service providers and keep their phone number when they buy new phones and stay in the same geographical area. This practice is known as porting, according to the Federal Communications Commission. 

The FCC recommends using personal pin numbers or passwords for mobile phone accounts to prevent people from “porting out” phone numbers. Scammers who get hold of a combination of phone numbers and personal information can intercept calls and get access to bank accounts, social media accounts, emails and other information accessed through mobile phones.

Hertel said the subscriber identity module (SIM) card can be moved from old to new phones. But, she said information is not actually stored on SIM cards because information is sent to a cloud-based system.

One of the most important things to do is keep up with mobile phone software updates, Hertel said.

“They do have security fixes tied into them,” she said. “The quicker you get an update, the safer you will be.”

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TSTC Debuts Updated Programs This Fall in Marshall

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Students attending Texas State Technical College this fall have found two programs that have been updated and renamed, and a third that replaces an older program. 

“This is evidence of TSTC’s ongoing efforts to tailor our programs to the precise skill sets Texas employers need,” said Barton Day, TSTC’s provost in Marshall.

The Automation and Controls Technology program (formerly Industrial Controls Technology) teaches automatic control principles, energy industrial safety, electrical theory and motor controls. Graduates can pursue jobs as electrical engineering technicians and industrial engineering technicians, among others. 

“They can stay local,” said Nathan Cleveland, TSTC’s associate provost in Marshall. “They are going to the same places that an instrumentation technician would go. They do a little robotics, they do a little programmable logic controls, a little instrumentation.”

The Industrial Systems program (formerly Industrial Maintenance) offers an associate degree with an electrical specialization, as well as a mechanic-electrical certificate.

“This is a program we can place students in jobs all day long,” Cleveland said. “It is an in-demand occupation.”

Computer Programming Technology replaces Software Development Technology. It teaches advanced Java programming, database programming and mobile applications development. 

“Most of the work that Computer Programming Technology graduates would do around here is the development of business applications,” Cleveland said. “If you go into the San Antonio and Austin areas, you are going to get more into the gaming applications.”

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TSTC Holds Summer 2019 Commencement

(MARSHALL, Texas) – More than 30 graduates received certificates and associate degrees at Texas State Technical College’s Summer 2019 Commencement held Friday, Aug. 16, at the Julius S. Scott Sr. Chapel at Wiley College in Marshall.

Rush Harris, director of business services at the Marshall Economic Development Corp., was the ceremony’s guest speaker. He talked to graduates about the power of having a degree from TSTC.

“My advice to all graduates here today is to hone your skills and never stop learning,” Harris said. “You will work in an ever-changing environment. Pay attention and learn each day. Know that with technological advancements, you will likely undergo future training. Look for companies that invest in their employees.”

Harris is a graduate of Marshall High School, Southern Methodist University, the Thunderbird School of Global Management and the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute.

Some graduates either have jobs or are waiting on word about employment opportunities.

Jacob McCombs of Harleton recently wrapped up an internship at Southwestern Electric Power Co. in Marshall. He earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Electrical Lineworker Technology.

He came to TSTC after working in a fabrication shop where he did welding.

“I didn’t like being stationary,” McCombs said. “Electrical Lineworker Technology pays well. I have a big family, a wife and four children, and just needed something that will provide well for them and something that I would enjoy doing long-term.”

Graduates are already making their plans for the future.

Lazaro Gonzalez of Carthage said he made the right decision coming to TSTC to earn a structural welding certificate.

“I’m excited but a little nervous,” he said. “They (the instructors) taught me a lot more than what I learned in high school. This is a good start.”

This fall, Gonzalez plans to pursue an Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology at TSTC’s Waco campus. Eventually, he wants to work with tungsten inert gas welding.

“Welding is a good profession if you want to travel,” Gonzalez said. 

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TSTC Welding Student Lands New Job Before Graduation

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Nicholas Delaurelle of Longview is relieved that he has been hired for a job before he graduates from Texas State Technical College.

“It is reassuring making some money, because I have bills to pay,” he said. “I’ll be moving into an apartment the day after graduation.”

Delaurelle is one of more than 30 candidates for graduation at TSTC’s Summer 2019 Commencement at 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 16, at the Julius S. Scott Sr. Chapel at 711 Wiley Ave. in Marshall. Delaurelle is scheduled to receive a structural welding certificate from the Welding Technology program.

“It’s been a pretty good amount of learning,” he said. “I really enjoyed TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding and the torch itself, watching the metal melt into the joint. I enjoyed learning how all the torch stuff works and how the processes differ so much.”

Delaurelle will begin work this month at Smith Tank & Equipment Co. in Tyler, a supplier of horizontal and vertical steel tanks used for liquid food handling systems.

Philip Miller, an instructor in TSTC’s Welding Technology program, said Delaurelle could have gotten a job anywhere with his skills and work ethic.

“He was probably one of the best (students) we have had,” Miller said. “He could make a 98 on a test and ask to retake it. He hit over the mark every time.”

Miller said the faculty encourages students to search for jobs while still taking classes. He said the faculty can help students practice their welding tests before job interviews.

“We hope they get hired before they graduate,” Miller said.

Delaurelle is a 2018 graduate of Pine Tree High School in Longview. He originally wanted to be an auto mechanic, but he changed his mind once he took a welding class during his senior year and found he enjoyed the work.

“Some people think (welding is) hard, but they don’t know how to deal with the conditions,” Delaurelle said. “If you have a strong will, you can deal with it.”

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TSTC Hosts Mock Interview Sessions for Students

(MARSHALL, Texas) – More than 40 Texas State Technical College students became better prepared for job hunting after practicing their interview skills on Wednesday.

TSTC’s Career Services office hosted an interview practicum at the South Building on the Marshall campus for students to sit down with TSTC staff for mock interview sessions.

“I want the students to get used to talking to people they aren’t used to,” said Hannah Luce, TSTC’s Career Services coordinator. “I hope they are more confident going into a real-world interview.”

Natasha Davis, a Computer Networking and Systems Administration major from Longview, said she found the practicum valuable because she had not received feedback after doing professional interviews before.

“I worked really hard at hiding my nervousness,” she said. “I learned not to question myself so much in interviews.”

Devon Edwards, an Electrical Lineworker Technology major from Palestine, said he was confident during his mock interviews. Edwards said it was good to be prepared for unexpected interview questions.

“It is good practice,” he said. “It helps you when you get in the real situations because you can answer the questions.”

Students received insight from the interviewers during and after each of their three 10-minute sessions. 

“That last round, they (the students) seemed more relaxed and were taking some pointers from other interviewees,” said John Balensia, an instructor in TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program. “But, they need to work on their verbal skills and work on their job experience.”

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TSTC Hosts Future Fair For Residents

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Texas State Technical College showed East Texas residents on Saturday why their future can be brighter with a technical education.

The first TSTC Future Fair in Marshall highlighted 11 technical programs on campus, many of which serve industries in need of qualified workers.

Visitors of all ages did hands-on demonstrations, such as the virtual welder, toured labs and ate at food trucks parked next to the South Building on campus.

“We have had visitors as young as middle school,” said Patty Lopez, TSTC’s regional director for dual enrollment. “In eighth grade, students have to choose a career path. Hopefully this can lead to dual enrollment classes and then coming here.”

Michael Calhoun, a senior at Harleton High School, made his first visit to TSTC.

“My guidance counselor told me to look into this college because I am interested in information technology,” he said.

Calhoun said he looked forward to graduating from high school and starting college.

“It will be a lot of fun and a change,” he said. “I felt really welcomed today, especially by the people giving the campus tours.”

Alex Hernandez, a senior at Jacksonville High School, drove with a friend more than an hour to Marshall to attend the event. He said he enjoyed talking to faculty and staff members learning about TSTC.

Hernandez said he is interested in studying Process Operations, which combines electronics, engineering, instrumentation and troubleshooting for the chemical, gas, petroleum and other industries.

Industry was also represented at the event to show the more than 50 people who attended what career possibilities are in the region.

Joe Razza, a regional recruiter at Crown Lift Trucks in Arlington, said students going to college to prepare for the workforce can have an impact on their families.

“There are a lot of opportunities in the trade industry and that ties into the mission of TSTC,” said Razza. “You need to get your hands on it and experience it before you make a career of it.”

Fidelity Communications Co. in Marshall provided a $1,000 scholarship that was drawn early Saturday afternoon for a student planning to attend TSTC this fall.

TSTC worked with the Marshall Independent School District and the Marshall Economic Development Corp. to put on the event.

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TSTC, TWC, STEMCO Celebrate Skills Development Fund Grant

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Leaders from Texas State Technical College, the Texas Workforce Commission and Longview-based STEMCO gathered Thursday in Marshall to commemorate a $166,657 Skills Development Fund grant aimed at improving workers’ skills.

More than 100 STEMCO employees have taken over 900 hours of technical and nontechnical training in collaborative team building, decision-making, electrical safety, Excel, Google Suite and other topics. 

“TSTC makes a positive difference in the lives of our working citizens by helping them earn more in their careers through their increased knowledge and skills,” said Kelly Kinsley Overby, the Longview Economic Development Corporation’s business retention and expansion director. “Training grants from the TWC such as the Skills Development Fund help provide this needed training and foster economic growth and prosperity in East Texas.”

This was the first time the company utilized TSTC for workforce training. The work started last summer and ended in May.

“I think we have built very good relations with STEMCO,” said Dirk Hughes, TSTC’s executive director of workforce training in Marshall. “As soon as we get another grant, we need to continue doing this type of training.”

William Leadaman, STEMCO’s manager in Longview, said staff from the company’s human resources office and TSTC had discussions about specialized training for employees.

“Our company is really focused on the dual bottom line, so not only is it the growth and sustainability of the business, but also the growth of the colleagues and their technical base,” Leadaman said.

The Skills Development Fund has been used since 1996 to localize workforce training for Texas companies. This enables companies to work directly with local partners to develop training tailored to employers’ needs. The Skills Development Fund grant has assisted more than 4,200 employers statewide, according to the TWC.

“Our labor force continues to be among the most sought-after in the world, thanks to the state’s commitment to implement strategies to improve the skills of Texas workers,” said Julian Alvarez III, the TWC’s commissioner representing labor.

STEMCO supplies brake, suspension and wheel-end components for the commercial vehicle  industry.

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TSTC Wins First Medal at National SkillsUSA Conference

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Texas State Technical College won its first-ever medal at the 55th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference held June 24-28 in Louisville, Kentucky.

SkillsUSA is a professional organization teaching employability, leadership and technical skills helping middle school, high school and college students pursue successful careers and build a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA has more than 100 competitive events ranging from 3D Visualization and Animation to Welding Sculpture.

Mikayla Walden, a Computer Networking and Systems Administration major from Broaddus, won the gold medal in Technical Computer Applications.

“I honestly didn’t expect it,” Walden said. “It took about 10 seconds to realize I was getting gold. I have a feeling of accomplishment.”

Amy Hertel, a TSTC Cyber Security instructor who traveled with the Marshall delegation, said Walden never lost faith in her skills.

“The competition was tough and had many elements over a two-day span,” Hertel said. “It was a test of endurance as well as technical ability.”

TSTC’s Marshall campus also had students compete in CNC Turning, Customer Service, Cyber Security and Industrial Motor Control.

“We are incredibly proud of Mikayla, as well as each of her teammates who represented TSTC and East Texas in such fine fashion,” said Barton Day, provost of TSTC’s Marshall campus. “These competitions are a great experience for our students and a terrific showcase of the skills provided by a top-notch technical education.”

Also at the national conference, TSTC’s students from the Harlingen campus received a silver medal and students from the Waco campus received one gold medal, four silver medals and a bronze medal.

TSTC’s competitors qualified for the national conference by winning the SkillsUSA Texas State Leadership and Skills Conference held in Waco last April.

More than 6,400 students from Alaska to Puerto Rico competed at the national conference, with more than 1,100 gold, silver and bronze medals awarded. In-kind industry and education contributions in equipment, materials and time totaled more than $36 million for the event, according to SkillsUSA.

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TSTC Cyber Security Reinforces Importance of Protection in Health Care Industry

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Just like illnesses invade the body, so can viruses of a more technical kind invade digital devices.

The health care industry is entrusted with sensitive patient information, and Texas State Technical College’s Cyber Security program trains technicians to diagnose vulnerabilities and protect data from intrusion in digital systems such as those maintained by hospitals and medical offices.

Some of the biggest security problems plaguing health care include phishing emails, human error, and the compromise of digital devices by third-party vendors, according to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s 2019 HIMSS Cybersecurity Survey.

Less than half of the problems were discovered by internal security teams, according to the survey.

“Cybersecurity is essential for any business that has government regulations policing it,” said Amy Hertel, an instructor in the Cyber Security program at TSTC’s Marshall campus. “Health care is a great example of that due to thorough and complex HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) regulations aimed at protecting patient privacy, whether it be a family practice or a whole system of hospitals.”

Texas has more than 24,800 cybersecurity jobs currently open, according to More than 60,000 people are employed statewide in the cybersecurity field.

Hertel said cybersecurity internships can be difficult to get in the health care industry because of the patient data being stored. But, graduates can be hired as entry-level analysts to build trust in their workplaces.

“Rural health care facilities have a great opportunity to hire TSTC graduates who have first-class cybersecurity knowledge but prefer to stay in the local community instead of moving to a large city,” Hertel said.

David Dowdle, network administrator for HealthCARE Express in Texarkana, which has locations in Longview and Marshall, said geography factors into finding qualified people to fill jobs. He said finding good mentors can help students build on their interest in cybersecurity.

Malicious new viruses — like ransomware, a type of software that denies access to a computer system or data until a ransom is paid — are a constant threat.

“I think one of the biggest responsibilities any information technology professional has is to stay on top of the industry news,” Dowdle said. “Ransomware, for example, was not heard of by your average professional a few years ago. By 2015, it was on everyone’s minds. People who were not staying on top of the news were blindsided by ransomware.”

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Cyber Security in Marshall and at several other locations throughout the state. A certificate option is available.

“We teach students to plan and implement the policies and procedures that keep health care organizations HIPAA-compliant,” Hertel said. “This includes network setup and security, intrusion detection and prevention, and end-user protection and training.”

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TSTC in Marshall ELT Program Hosts Longview Boy for Up-close Visit

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Members of Texas State Technical College’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program on Monday gave a Longview boy an afternoon he will not soon forget.

Five-year-old Luke Harris received his own lineworker helmet and a TSTC Electrical Lineworker Technology poster from the faculty and students. The youngster learned how to operate a digger truck and run wire up a pole. He also gave directions to the students during a pole circle exercise.

“You can never begin too young to have an impact from an education standpoint,” said Eric Carithers, statewide chair for TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program.

Harris’ visit stemmed from a photograph his father, Matthew Harris, took of his son with a lineworker from Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) working in his neighborhood on May 11. SWEPCO workers were restoring power after a storm with straight-line winds caused more than 70,000 power outages in the area on May 8, said Mark Robinson, a SWEPCO external affairs manager in Longview.

The elder Harris noticed his son looking out the window at the activity taking place near their house. He said his son has been interested in power poles and likes climbing, especially up trees.

“Luke pops out, and he’s got his own little lineman outfit put together that his brother helped him with,” the elder Harris said.

Luke’s father said he could go in the front yard and wave the lineworkers.

Robinson came across the photo on social media and took some promotional items from SWEPCO to the younger Harris and his siblings and asked if the photo could be shared on the company’s Facebook page.

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TSTC in Marshall ELT Program Hosts Longview Boy for Up-close Visit