Category Archives: Marshall

TSTC to Offer Statewide Online Microsoft Office Training

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Workforce Training department is offering a second round of online Microsoft Office courses, this time for statewide residents.

“I think employers should view this course as a cost-effective and time-conscious way to provide training to their employees on software that they are likely already using,” said Haley Chapman, an instructor in TSTC’s Business Management Technology program in Marshall.

The training will be broken down into three weeks of Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft Word. Chapman will teach lessons using the Cengage learning platform. 

“I think one of the big selling points of this course is its flexibility,” Chapman said. “This course is appropriate for employees at a variety of different levels of experience with Microsoft suites.”

Tuition for the course will depend on the number of people signing up for the courses. Ten people will be included in every online training cohort. 

Dirk Hughes, TSTC’s executive director of Workforce Training, said the cost range should be between $350 and $450. Hughes said Workforce Training staff can assist eligible employers in securing small business funding from the Texas Workforce Commission to pay for employee training. 

“It (the funding) is designed for companies with less than 100 people,” Hughes said. “This kind of course would fall into that.”

The training follows a round of successful Microsoft Office instruction that began in July with more than 20 people.

“The feedback I’m receiving from the current course ranges from students saying they are learning new skills that they didn’t know they could perform with the software they already have,  to students saying they are freshening up on skills they forgot they had,” Chapman said.

For more information on the Microsoft Office training, contact TSTC’s Workforce Training department at 903-923-3374.

TSTC Design Program Gets New Name, Curriculum

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology program has a new name and focus for the fall.

The program will shift to an all-online format with virtual labs. Josh Stampley, a program instructor, said faculty will use TSTC’s Moodle platform and Microsoft Whiteboard for teaching and interacting with students.

The revamped curriculum will emphasize two-dimensional and three-dimensional architectural, civil and mechanical drafting. 

“We give our students enough knowledge in each of these fields where they would be successful finding a job in the discipline they enjoy the most once they graduate,” said Samuel Pizano, TSTC’s statewide chair for the Drafting and Design Technology Department. “This also allows for our graduates to become more versatile CAD (computer aided drafting) technicians with a wide variety of skills they will be able to showcase in industry.”

The program will offer for the first time an Occupational Skills Award in Basic Computer Aided Drafting. Students will take three classes to complete the award in about four months.

“This is for a person who might have been doing a little drafting and needs more expertise,” Stampley said. “Hopefully this can pique an interest in getting the associate degree.”

Students will have access to AutoCAD, Autodesk, Civil 3D, Revit, Solid Works and Lumion software.

“Students can elect to learn additional softwares, such as ArcGIS Desktop and Plant 3D, depending on the specialization route they chose to follow,” Pizano said. “Along with gaining experience with these drafting and design softwares, students will be exposed to the different industry standards for the architectural, civil and mechanical drafting and design disciplines, including projects created to mimic real-world industry blueprints and designs.”

Cathy Boldt, associate director of professional development for the American Institute of Architects’ Dallas chapter, said when the economy is strong there is a demand for workers with experience in architectural design graphics.

“At this time, many of the architecture firms have had projects put on hold or cancelled, resulting in layoffs at those firms,” Boldt said. “This means the market is currently flooded with individuals who are experienced and who may be willing to do this type of job rather than have no job. The question is their level of expertise in today’s technologies.” 

Texas had more than 11,200 architectural and civil drafters in May 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The annual mean wage was more than $57,000. The Arlington-Dallas-Fort Worth area had the largest concentration of workers with more than 4,000. The Longview area had about 60 workers.

Pizano said program faculty recommends students apply for jobs in the drafting area they feel most confident and comfortable in.

“We have successfully placed our students in drafting and design careers across the state of Texas and we consistently have companies reaching out to us who are interested in hiring our students,” he said. “We have noticed a high demand for CAD technicians in the state of Texas which continues to to hold strong even in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Jobs for architectural and civil drafters are projected to rise to more than 103,000 by 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The agency attributes this to new jobs in the construction and engineering sectors.

Registration continues for the fall semester.

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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.

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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, 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.

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TSTC Process Operations Technology Program Uses Virtual Reality Software

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Faculty members and students in Texas State Technical College’s Process Operations Technology program started working with a new virtual reality software system this summer.

PetroSkills Simulation Solutions’ Distillation VR is in the early stages of use this summer in the Process Technology III – Operations and Process Troubleshooting classes. Students can  access the virtual software through TSTC’s Moodle platform if they are off campus.

The Marshall Economic Development Corp. authorized the purchase of the software in February and donated it to TSTC. 

“Students experience what an actual process operator would see while being in the control room or walking the plant or refinery,” said Nicholas Cram, lead instructor in TSTC’s Process Operations Technology program. “The virtual operator provides students with a view of the plant similar to what you see with Google Earth if you were to scroll down to road level.”

The program’s instructors are able to virtually simulate dangerous scenarios for distillation systems like chemical leaks, explosions and plant fires.

“We can introduce problems into the simulation while it is running, then assess the students’ ability to get the situation under control and back on track,” said Cram. “We think this will be a great asset for the future.”

The program’s first-semester students will use the software starting this fall in the Introduction to Process Operations class.

“The software is very user-friendly,” Cram said. “It’s like anything new. Once you understand the functions of all the buttons, you pick things up really fast.”

TSTC’s program teaches students about industrial processes, troubleshooting, process instrumentation and other topics. Students can use these skills in chemical, gas, pharmaceutical, power plant, refinery and public utilities operations.

“We would like for those individuals to stay in Marshall and work here,” said Rush Harris, director of business services at MEDCO. “It increases our percentage of educated folks in town and increases our annual median and mean income. We are trying to keep the pipeline of employees going to some of these larger companies that pay well.”

Blake Cox, The TSTC Foundation’s East Texas field development officer, agreed. 

“I think the gift has its importance mainly because it is coming from an economic development corporation,” said Cox. “I think that speaks volumes to what we are doing, and they want to reinvest back into their community.”

Instructors and MEDCO leaders see the software as a great recruiting tool.

“Using any educational technology provides a better learning platform for students and really emphasizes the ‘technical’ in TSTC,” Cram said. “We can also accommodate more students in a virtual lab, learning the same or more material than we can in a face-to-face lab. The software will never replace face-to-face, hands-on training, but it certainly shortens the learning curve in understanding process operations technology.”

More than 200 workers in Harrison County were employed  in process operations as recently as 2018, according to a June wage and employment study conducted by MEDCO. The study found the annual average salary for process operations workers was $63,200.

Graduates of TSTC’s Process Operations Technology have gone on to be hired at Eastman Chemical Co. in Longview, Matheson Gas locations throughout Texas, and Sherwin-Williams and Plastipak Packaging Inc., both in Garland.

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TSTC Workforce Training Department to Offer CDL Training

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Workforce Training department will offer a commercial driver’s license course later this summer.

The course will begin on Monday, Aug. 3. The permit part of the course will be taught through WebEx. The skills portion of the course will be taught at TSTC’s Marshall campus. The course lasts five weeks, Monday to Friday. It will enable students to earn a commercial driver’s license permit, with testing being done at the Texas Department of Public Safety in Kilgore.

“Safety is a huge concern at TSTC,” said Dirk Hughes, TSTC’s executive director of Workforce Training in Marshall. “With the state having to deal with the virus, TSTC is taking measures to ensure the safety of its students and instructors. Masks will be worn by students and staff, and the trucks will be sanitized upon the switching of drivers. Safety and health is important to us.”

Tuition for the course is $1,950 for the first six people to sign up and increases to $3,900 for additional  participants.

Some of the occupations that Workforce Solutions of East Texas has listed as needing commercial driver’s licenses include industrial truck and track operators, excavating and loading machine operators, and heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers.

For more information on the commercial driver’s license classes, contact TSTC’s Workforce Training department at 903-923-3374.

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TSTC alumnus designs equipment for West Texas oil field companies

(ABILENE, Texas) – Sheryl Givens turned a lifelong passion into a career.

Since graduating from Texas State Technical College with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology in 2018, Givens has worked as a designer for SCS Technologies in Big Spring.

“I have always been interested in construction,” Given said. “Growing up, I liked drawing things on a day-by-day basis.”

At SCS Technologies, Givens designs equipment for West Texas oil field companies. The company specializes in programmable logic controller-based systems, control panel fabrication, and custody transfer liquid measurements.

Givens said being part of the TSTC program prepared her for this career.

“Throughout the years, I have admired all the strong work ethic and personal integrity of the field,” she said. “I appreciated all the help from TSTC, which led me to become a motivated and driven professional with a high level of leadership and initiative, as well as excellent analytical, organizational, and problem-solving skills.”

She said TSTC instructors prepared her for a career as a designer.

“They helped me find challenging career opportunities where knowledge, skills, and experience can be effectively utilized with organizations offering opportunities for professional growth and advancement,” Givens said.

The drafting and design program is available at the Abilene, Brownwood, Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater, and Waco campuses.

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TSTC Business Management Technology instructor brings experience into the classroom

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – You might say that Texas State Technical College Business Management Technology instructor Duston Brooks brings some practical experience of a bovine nature into the classroom.

Prior to becoming an instructor at TSTC, Brooks worked on the financial side of his family’s dairy farm. He now brings that knowledge to his students as they work toward an Associate of Applied Science degree or certificate in Business Management Technology.

“I learned the financial side of things and how to use the software,” said Brooks, who has taught at TSTC since 2000.

When Brooks first started teaching, TSTC offered a degree in Computer Information Technology. It is now the five-semester Business Management Technology degree program.

Students learn three areas of business management. Brooks said the first part of the program focuses on accounting, followed by management and then software.

“Anybody who works at a computer desk at any business will benefit from this program,” he said.

Students learn a variety of skills, including word processing, presentation graphics, accounting, and business ethics, principles of accounting and management, small business operations, and payroll accounting.

“You will benefit from a well-rounded education,” Brooks said, adding that some graduates continue their education by earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

In addition to on-campus classes, TSTC’s Business Management Technology program is available online, which helps some students, Brooks said.

“We know that people are working and have kids. This gives them the feasibility to complete the program online and at their own pace,” he said.

Brooks said one student completed the course while being employed as a full-time truck driver.

“He could not attend a class on campus, so he took his laptop with him,” he said. “Whenever he had time off the road, he would work on his online classes.”

During his tenure at TSTC, Brooks has seen students of all ages complete the program.

“We have had students just out of high school to adults in their 50s and 60s. Some people want to come back and relearn skills or even learn brand-new skills in order to update their resume,” he said.

Completing the program, according to Brooks, allows graduates to interview for office management positions. He said through hard work, some graduates have worked their way up to higher positions.

Brooks has also had students who wanted to start their own business.

“There are people from our program working in small towns and bigger cities,” he said. “Students who want to move up from a physically challenging job can take our program to get them in a better office or management position.”

Business Management Technology is available at the Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood, Harlingen, and Marshall campuses.

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Computer networkers keep people connected

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – With more people working from home, the internet has been busy.

Renee Blackshear, a Computer Networking and Systems Administration instructor at Texas State Technical College, said computer networkers have been the “unseen essential workers” during the past few months.

“Computer networkers have been able to keep people in communication with each other,” she said.

The TSTC program was spotlighted this month during a virtual visit on Facebook. Blackshear focused the visit on what students will learn over the program’s five semesters. She said her goal was to turn the people watching the virtual visit into students.

“A lot of people may be looking for a different career. I want them to know this is a cool program,” she said.

Blackshear said graduates have found employment with health care systems, school districts, banks, institutions of higher education and telecommunication companies.

“Anywhere there is a computer, there is a need for a computer networking technician,” she said.

Students will learn routing, switching, server development, security and virtualization.

“All of these are important for a successful career in information technology,” Blackshear said.

While the program is available online, students do have lab sessions to complete.

“The best way of learning is by doing,” Blackshear said.

Students who are patient and pay attention to detail will find success, Blackshear said. However, networkers will find the job challenging.

“Within IT, our daily task list changes like the Texas weather: rapidly. This means one minute you could be sitting at your computer answering technical support questions or building a web server, and the next you could be on a ladder running cable across the ceiling for a network drop or setting up a wireless bridge to communicate for remote learning,” she said.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Networking and Systems Administration at the Abilene, Brownwood, Marshall, North Texas and Waco campuses.

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TSTC Workforce Training Offers Microsoft Office Courses

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Workforce Training department  is offering nine weeks of online Microsoft Office courses aimed at boosting Texans’ computer skills.

The training will be broken down into three weeks of Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft Word. The lessons will be taught by Haley Chapman, an instructor in TSTC’s Business Management Technology program in Marshall.

“With everything that is happening in the state of Texas, there are a lot of people that either are out of work or are having to drive to do something in order to make money,” said Dirk Hughes, executive director of TSTC’s Workforce Training in Marshall. “I have always felt like the two most important things to do as far as work is to go home at the end of the day and make yourself as marketable as you can.”

Cynthia Mata, statewide chair of TSTC’s Business Management Technology program, said participants might later earn Microsoft Office Specialist certifications on their own.

“Every business, regardless of the type, needs someone to manage the office environment,” she said.

Tuition for the course is $300. Ten people will be included in every online training cohort. Hughes said he can assist eligible employers in securing small business funding from the Texas Workforce Commission to pay for employee training.

For more information on the Microsoft Office training, contact TSTC’s Workforce Training department at 903-923-3374.

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