Category Archives: North Texas

TSTC’s Precision Machining Technology Graduates Needed in Dallas County

(RED OAK, Texas) – Rodie Woodard, president of Maximum Industries in Irving, said finding qualified machinists depends on the timing of market conditions.

“There is plenty of talent in the pool, but when things are strong with Lockheed, Raytheon, Bell Helicopter, they nab every single experienced multi-access machinist there is,” he said. “They are able to pay and offer benefits that smaller companies cannot compete with.”

Some of Texas State Technical College’s Precision Machining Technology graduates at the North Texas campus have been hired at Cannon & CannonIndustrial Machining in Greenville, Fabricon Machining in Duncanville, Martin Marietta in Dallas, and other businesses throughout the region.

“Precision Machining Technology graduates working for smaller companies still have great advantages. However, due to the common fluctuations of today’s economy, stability is jeopardized,” said Adrian Castanon, a TSTC Career Services coordinator. “A majority of our students strive to get employed with bigger, well-known companies.”

Jobs for machinists are projected to grow to more than 405,000 through 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Texas had more than 26,000 machinists in May 2018 earning an annual mean wage of more than $46,800, according to the agency.

Woodard said machining is a unique skill not everyone can quickly learn. The company does work for the aerospace, defense and other industries.

“We do a lot of machining. But we do what you consider fabrication work, meaning water-jet and laser cutting of parts,” he said. “We have a pretty young workforce, but probably at least half of our employees have been here more than 10 years.”

Richard Perez, research manager at Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas, said there is a need for machinists in Dallas County, particularly in Garland, its manufacturing hub. The demand can be seen through postings for jobs, which Perez said is taking some companies more than a month to fill.

Perez said Workforce Solutions is working with career and technical education programs in Dallas County school districts to spur interest in the machining field.

“We are increasing that student pipeline and letting them know there are good jobs available,” Perez said. “You do not have to go to a four-year university if you do not want to.”

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TSTC Hosts Counselor Update

(RED OAK, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s North Texas campus held its annual Counselor Update on Friday to kick off the new year.

“It just gives them a chance to see what is going on if they are new,” said Trey Pearson, TSTC’s North and Central Texas regional director for student recruitment. “For those returning, it’s keeping our relationship strong.”

More than 30 area school counselors learned about TSTC’s technical programs and new initiatives.

The counselors were told about TSTC’s Performance-Based Education initiative beginning this fall with the Cybersecurity and Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Technology programs. Students in these programs can take course lessons at their own pace to create flexibility in their learning.

The counselors watched members of the first cohort of Bombardier’s Aviation Apprenticeship Training program work in their specially designed lab on the first floor of the Jim Pitts Industrial Technology Center. The cohort is the first of 250 people taking 180 days of training at TSTC and at the company to produce the Advanced Metallic Wing for the Global 7500 aircraft at the company’s Red Oak plant.

Megan Bloedel, a college advisor at McKinney North High School, said Friday’s event was the first time she had been to TSTC.

“I liked the different programs there were and partnering with different industries,” she said.

Bloedel said the technical program that piqued her interest was Diesel Equipment Technology, which teaches students about engine repair, hydraulics, steering and suspension systems and other topics.

Allison Knott, a Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) coordinator at Cedar Hill High School, said she was interested in the need for HVAC technicians and the skills taught in the Computer Aided Drafting and Design Technology and Industrial Systems programs.

“I’m always super impressed when I come to TSTC,” Knott said.

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TSTC Holds Fall 2019 Commencement

(RED, OAK, Texas) – More than 20 graduates received certificates and associate degrees at Texas State Technical College’s Fall 2019 Commencement held Monday, Dec. 9, at the Waxahachie Civic Center.

Several graduates already have jobs, while others are making plans for the future. 

Demarcus Evans and Donna Floyd both graduated with the Associate of Applied Science degree in Industrial Systems – Electrical Specialization. 

“We decided teamwork makes the dream work,” Floyd said. “Why not help each other? We love each other, and we want each other to succeed.”

Floyd said she and Evans planned to celebrate their achievement with friends and relatives later Monday night.

The couple said they are awaiting word from a company in the Dallas-Fort Worth area on when to start their new jobs. They plan next to work on bachelor’s degrees at Tarleton State University in Stephenville.

Bronc Stewart of Red Oak graduated with a Diesel Equipment Technology certificate. He began TSTC shortly after serving five years in the U.S. Marine Corps. 

“It feels really good,” he said about graduating. “I didn’t think I would go to college, much less graduate.”

Stewart will continue work as a technician at United Ag and Turf in Ennis.

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TSTC Student Ready for His Future Upon Graduation

(RED OAK, Texas) – Working with large diesel equipment is in Cesar Vazquez’s blood.

“I like the noise,” he said. “I have always been in the diesel world. It pays well. There is a shortage of mechanics, so there is job security.”

Vazquez is a candidate for graduation at Texas State Technical College’s Fall 2019 Commencement for the North Texas campus at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 9, at the Waxahachie Civic Center. He is scheduled to receive a Diesel Equipment Technology – Heavy Truck certificate of completion. 

Vazquez said his favorite hands-on activities in class dealt with engines and transmissions.

TSTC student Jared Bourgeois of Fort Worth met Vazquez in their Diesel Equipment Technology classes. He will graduate in December with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Diesel Equipment Technology.

“He has a lot of knowledge,” Bourgeois said. “He is definitely a leader. He knows what things to get done first.”

Vazquez was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, and moved with his family to Texas when he was young. His family lived in Irving before settling in Red Oak.

“I grew up with it since I was 6 years old,” Vazquez said about diesel equipment. “My father had a construction business in Mexico. He’s a truck driver here now.”

Vazquez used self-motivation to start his own business at 16 doing maintenance work on vehicles. He did this while a student at Red Oak High School, where he graduated in 2018.

TSTC student Omar Juarez met Vazquez when they played middle school football in Red Oak. Juarez will graduate in December with a Diesel Equipment Technology – Heavy Truck certificate. Juarez said he admires Vazquez’s work ethic.

“He makes sure things are done correctly,” Juarez said. “He is always pushing other people to get better.”

Next spring, Vazquez will finish an Associate of Applied Science degree in Diesel Equipment Technology – Heavy Truck Specialization and hopes to have his commercial driver’s license by next summer. He also wants to look for a job in Ellis County that would enable him to get more engine experience.

“I want to be someone and be known for something,” Vazquez said. “I have been working hard since I was little.”

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TSTC Program Sees Largest Female Cohort

(RED OAK, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s North Texas campus has three women enrolled this semester in its Industrial Systems – Electrical Specialization program, the largest female cohort for that program in the campus’ history.

Biatris Arevalo of Red Oak and Abby Ramsey of Maypearl are pursuing associate degrees, while Tiquila Dawson of Dallas is studying for a program certificate. The women have things in common, including having grown up in the country and being curious about how the equipment works.

“I probably talk to them about working on stuff more than the guys,” Arevalo said.

John Walker, an instructor in TSTC’s Industrial Systems – Electrical Specialization program, said the students are enthusiastic and come to class each day ready to work.

“Abby is so sharp,” he said. “Tiquila is coming here to enhance her skills and get set to move up the pay scale. Biatris wants a better income and opportunities. She likes working with her hands.”

The Industrial Systems – Electrical Specialization program has more than 50 students this semester taking day and night classes. Walker said the program’s goal for the spring semester is starting a new night cohort. Some of the skills students are learning include commercial wiring, electrical theory and machinery installation.

Ramsey is a home-schooled high school senior who began taking dual enrollment classes this year at TSTC. She said picking her major was a natural fit for her.

“I live in a small town where we do a lot of hands-on things,” Ramsey said. “That is the mindset of small towns. My family is very hands-on. If you break it, you fix it.”

Dawson is doing some of this work already at the Kohl’s Distribution eFulfillment Center in DeSoto, where she has been employed for three years. She works three days a week and goes to classes four days a week.

Earlier this semester, she received a $250 scholarship from The TSTC Foundation as part of TSTC’s Shaping You to Get Hired campaign. She said the money enabled her to buy tools and other items for classes.

Dawson said she did not think she would go to college. She grew up in Elkhart and said she did not have the guidance needed to plan for life after high school. But, she had a breakthrough while in circumstances that were not ideal. 

“I guess it was my second time going to prison when I realized you get older, and the years, you can’t get back,” Dawson said. “Either you are going to do right or go back where you have been.”

Dawson said she is content working and going to classes.

“Everything is new to me,” she said. “I am meeting new people. It’s tough trying to work and go to school.”

Arevalo grew up with an interest in robotics and majored in criminal justice at a four-year university before realizing it was not a good fit for her. She also endured a sports injury that took her away from playing soccer.

Arevalo said she had a period when she had to think about her career and incorporating her mathematics and science abilities. She eventually knew TSTC would be the right place for her.

“Here, the instructors explain it, and then you work on it,” she said.

Arevalo said her career goal is to work at Oncor.

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TSTC Career Services Hosts Mock Interview Sessions for Students

(RED OAK, Texas) – Thirteen students in the Diesel Equipment Technology program at Texas State Technical College’s North Texas campus had the opportunity Wednesday morning to sit down with industry representatives to practice interview skills.

TSTC’s Career Services department hosted mock interviews in timed sessions for students to learn about their weaknesses and strengths and how to improve.

“I think it served a good purpose for our students,” said Peter Collier, a TSTC Career Services associate.

Jack Cahill of Lewisville is scheduled to graduate in spring 2020 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Diesel Equipment Technology. He said his interviewer commended him on his enthusiasm.

“It was very valuable,” Cahill said. “I know next time I go into an interview what to expect and how to tackle situations.”

Hayden Rieper of Waxahachie is a Diesel Equipment Technology certificate student who said his interviewer liked his ability to answer questions and how he dressed.

“I learned how to go in more confident and know what to expect from an interview,” he said.

Carlo Amato, director of human resources at construction chemicals manufacturer Mapei Corp. in Deerfield Beach, Florida, which also has a location in Garland, said he was impressed with the students he met.

“I thought the students were earnest and likeable,” he said. “They were open about who they were and what they wanted.”

Amato said while some students need to work on their confidence, each came prepared to answer questions provided by Career Services.

“I see a bright future for all of them,” he said.

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TSTC Hosts Back-to-School Bash

(RED OAK, Texas) – Texas State Technical College held its Back-to-School Bash on Thursday at its North Texas campus in Red Oak.

Students, faculty and staff were treated to hamburgers, hot dogs, chips and sodas. Those attending gathered at tables arranged in the first floor hallway of the Jim Pitts Industrial Technology Center.

Marcus Balch, provost of TSTC’s North Texas campus, said there were many things to be excited about as the new academic year begins.

Balch said the number of Red Oak High School students taking dual enrollment classes at TSTC has increased from 75 last year to 125 this year. Also, recruitment and dual enrollment staff from TSTC will be at the high school 20 hours a week to work with students on post-high school plans.

Students will soon be learning in an expanded lab space for the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology program.

Balch said he is pleased to see growth in the Electrical Power and Controls program, which has about 20 TSTC students this semester. The program, along with Computer Networking and Systems Administration, Cyber Security, Diesel Equipment Technology, Industrial Systems and Welding Technology, offers day and night classes.

“We have some quality students coming in,” Balch said.

Christian Correa of Ferris is a first-year Welding Technology student pursuing a certificate. He chose welding because he did it in high school. His goal is to learn as much as he can before graduating and pursuing a job in the oil and gas industry.

“Eventually I want to have a shop with my brother, who graduated from here in Diesel Equipment Technology,” Correa said.

Carlos Barcenas of Venus is also a first-year student studying for a Welding Technology certificate.

“I didn’t have plans after high school but decided to try it,” Barcenas said about attending TSTC. “Everyone treats you different in a good way.”

After graduation, Barcenas wants to get a job doing tungsten inert gas welding.

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TSTC Welcomes New Faculty to Campus

(RED OAK, Texas) – Texas State Technical College has welcomed two new instructors to its Red Oak campus.

Douglas McCuen is teaching in the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology program, and Jacob Usery is in the Computer Networking and Systems Administration program. Both started teaching on Aug. 26, the first day of TSTC’s fall semester.

“I think anytime new professionals with different backgrounds come on campus, there is always a collaboration between the other faculty and new faculty members and the staff,” said Marcus Balch, provost of TSTC’s North Texas campus. “I think everyone has a different set of backgrounds and experiences that make us stronger and better in what we do.”

McCuen has more than 30 years of professional experience in the HVAC field in New Mexico and Texas. He said he wanted to pursue teaching because it is a new challenge. Before coming to TSTC, he previously owned a business in San Antonio.

“I have noticed how the students are really interested in the life experiences I have obtained through being able to tell them what I ran across and have seen,” McCuen said.

In 1984, McCuen received an associate degree in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration from the Technical Vocational Institute (now Central New Mexico Community College) in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Usery worked in the private sector and for a school district in Johnson County before coming to TSTC. He said watching what teachers were doing with their students inspired him to move into the classroom.

“I was drawn to it, and I wanted to help people learn what I have picked up over the years,” Usery said.

Usery said he had some nerves on his first day of teaching, but said he is quickly getting comfortable working with students who are a variety of ages.

“I love what I do now,” he said. “It’s just exciting to me. I want to be part of making people better.”

Usery grew up in Red Oak less than two miles from TSTC’s campus. He is a 1998 graduate of Red Oak High School and a 2010 graduate of Western Governors University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in information technology.

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TSTC Holds Summer 2019 Commencement

(RED OAK, Texas) – More than 40 graduates received certificates and associate degrees at Texas State Technical College’s Summer 2019 Commencement held Friday, Aug. 16, at the Waxahachie Civic Center.

“As we come to the close of another semester, it is exciting to witness yet another group of students-turned-graduates talk about job offers and opportunities that lie before them,” said Marcus Balch, TSTC’s provost for the North Texas campus. “All have worked tremendously hard to reach this milestone in their educational career, and it is quite easy to see just how excited each one is to begin their new chapter.”

Some students have already been hired for jobs in their fields.

Edward Price of Alvarado will receive an Associate of Applied Science degree in Diesel Equipment Technology. 

“My wife and I discussed it to take it a little bit easier as we get closer to retirement,” he said. “Teaching had been discussed. In 2016, I got injured and had to have surgery on my knee and that did not heal well, so my ability to go back on the floor as a diesel mechanic was over. I had to make a career change.”

Price has been hired to teach Diesel Equipment Technology at TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus in Rosenberg.

“I am looking forward to it,” he said. “I am nervous. I have been a trainer on many jobs, but I have not taught in a classroom environment. I think everything is going to be good.”

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Red Oak ISD Tours TSTC Campus in Waco

(RED OAK, Texas) – Representatives of the Red Oak Independent School District traveled to Texas State Technical College’s Waco campus on Thursday to see its technical programs firsthand and talk about future collaboration with TSTC. 

Marcus Balch, TSTC’s provost at the North Texas campus in Red Oak, led the school district’s delegation. He said the visit was a way for staff from the school district and TSTC to learn more about each other’s missions. TSTC’s North Texas campus is located next to Red Oak High School and shares its parking lot.

“I think it went really well,” Balch said. “I hope we can find more ways to connect and be more strategic.”

Some of the technical programs the group visited include Aviation Maintenance, Culinary Arts, Electrical Lineworker Technology, Instrumentation and Welding Technology.

“I like the amount of different programs that are available and the first-rate equipment the students have to work with,” said Red Oak High School Principal Miller Beaird.

Beaird said he enjoyed seeing TSTC’s commitment to showing students’ ways to be successful and employable in the workplace. He said some of what he heard could benefit future graduates of Red Oak High School, citing that up to 40 percent of the school’s graduates do not immediately find employment or enroll in college after they graduate. 

“TSTC could help decrease that number,” Beaird said.

Lisa Menton, the Red Oak school district’s career and technical education director, said about 100 Red Oak High School students will be taking dual enrollment classes starting this fall at TSTC. She said this is a number that can grow as students and faculty learn more about TSTC’s offerings at other campuses.

Menton said some of the technical programs she liked were Building Construction Technology and Electrical Power and Controls.

“I gained a lot of good knowledge I can pass on to the teachers,” she said.

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