Category Archives: North Texas

TSTC, Bombardier Celebrate Federal Apprenticeship Program Registration

(RED OAK, Texas) – Representatives of Texas State Technical College and Bombardier announced Wednesday the registration of the company’s apprenticeship program by the U.S. Department of Labor.

The Bombardier Aviation Apprenticeship Program is based at TSTC’s North Texas campus in Red Oak. The program was announced in December 2019 and so far has trained 55 people to work at the Montreal-based aviation company. 

“This will enable Bombardier to attract qualified individuals from the United States,” said Tony Curry, the company’s general manager.

Curry described the training program as a grassroots pipeline to produce aerospace workers. He said he is happy the company can provide training at TSTC and good-paying jobs for its future employees.

“We could not have wished for a better partner,” Curry said.

Marcus Balch, provost of TSTC’s North Texas campus, credited the TSTC Workforce Training department’s collaboration with Bombardier in helping to make the training happen. He said each cohort has about 25 members.

“There is a desire to come on at Bombardier,” Balch said. “It is evidence of how you treat your people.”

The apprenticeship program will have eight cohorts by 2022. Cohort members train for 90 days at TSTC and 90 days of on-the-job training at the company. The third cohort is currently being trained.

“This is a great addition to the assets and resources in Red Oak,” state Sen. Brian Birdwell said about the training program.

The company’s more than 900 employees produce the Advanced Metallic Wing for the Global 7500 aircraft in Red Oak.

“This is a great opportunity for anybody who wants to do this or needs a career change,” said David Setzer, executive director of Workforce Solutions of North Central Texas.

Ellis County Judge Todd Ellis credited Bombardier with investing in the county’s youth and changing the landscape of opportunities in the county.

“The best is yet to come for our next generation,” he said.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC Aims to Guide Johnson County Graduates Into Technical Careers

(RED OAK, Texas) – Some Johnson County college students are looking to Texas State Technical College to shape their futures. During the fall semester, more than 60 county residents are attending TSTC’s campuses in North Texas, Marshall, Sweetwater and Waco.

“The hiring potential in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Ellis County and Johnson County areas is increasing as the economy opens back up,” said Lyle Guinn, an instructor in TSTC’s Precision Machining Technology program at the North Texas campus. “The older generation is retiring, and companies are looking for competent, qualified people to fill the void left by those retirements.”

TSTC is viewed as an asset for Cleburne’s economic development. 

“It certainly helps as a recruiting tool when we recruit a new manufacturing or industrial business in Cleburne that is looking for a highly skilled workforce,” said Grady Easdon, the city of Cleburne’s economic development manager. “It is an outstanding recruiting tool for us.”

Triangle Pump Components Inc. in Cleburne gets less than three-quarters of its business from petroleum-based customers. The majority of the company’s employees are machinists, said Sam Kelton, Triangle’s vice president and general manager.

“Machinists with the skill set and experience we look for were more difficult to find before the pandemic,” Kelton said. “Since the pandemic started, many DFW-area companies that employ machinists have experienced layoffs.”

Kelton said machinists need good computer programming, mathematics and spatial reasoning skills.

“The job is both challenging and interesting,” he said. “Machinists are usually very intelligent and creative thinkers. Machining work will hold one’s interest and be motivating at the same time, while being hands-on at the same time.”

Kelton said he is confident the demand for future machinists will grow in the future but more people need to pursue the industry.

“Our business is structured to withstand the volatile swings in the oil industry,” he said. “The pandemic added an additional challenge we have not seen before. Businesses must be more creative and adaptable now than anytime I have seen in over 40 years of management.”

Sachem Inc., which is headquartered in Austin and has a facility in Cleburne, is a private chemical science company specializing in high-performance and high-purity products and services for the agrochemical, biotechnology, oil field and pharmaceutical industries.

Katie Cash, the company’s senior human resources manager in Austin, said the company frequently hires chemical operators on a temp-to-hire basis.

“We are a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week facility, and the production department where this role is works on a rotating swing shift, which is a mix of days and nights,” Cash said. “It can be a challenge to find individuals who can work this type of schedule. Some love it because it affords a string of days off on a regular basis. The operator, who technically starts as a packager, is involved in filling totes of product, monitoring tanks and processes, and preparing the product for shipping.”

Cash said the company also occasionally has maintenance and shipping jobs to fill.

“We tend to hire applicants who have some work experience in manufacturing environments. Some have forklift experience but are willing to train if not, and all have energy, drive and motivation and are reliable to come to work on time,” she said.

For Cleburne to have the workers for the future, students need to be inspired now.

Eighth grade students in the Cleburne Independent School District take a college and career readiness course in which they build a personal graduation plan for high school.

“The sooner we can get laser-focused toward a pathway, it shows graduation rates are higher and dropout rates are lower,” said Mark McClure, the Cleburne school district’s career and technical education director. 

Cleburne’s high school students in the health science pathway have the opportunity to earn pharmacy technician or registered dental assistant certifications, while students in the diesel technician program do internships at local businesses before they graduate.

“What we are doing is forecasting future jobs,” McClure said. “They say about 75 percent of the jobs today’s third graders will have haven’t even been invented yet.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

Red Oak IDC provides scholarship opportunity to TSTC

(RED OAK, Texas) – A new scholarship is available for students living in Red Oak and who are planning to attend Texas State Technical College’s North Texas campus.

The Red Oak Industrial Development Corp. board of directors recently approved a resolution donating funds to TSTC’s Red Oak IDC scholarship. Scholarships in the amount of $1,000 will be awarded to students.

“The Red Oak IDC Scholarship available at TSTC will provide financial assistance to our students for attaining upward mobility and improve the quality of life for our students and their families,” said Lee McCleary, economic development director for the city of Red Oak. 

“In addition, the TSTC North Texas campus provides our students the opportunity to receive state-of-the-art higher education technical and vocational workforce training in Red Oak so they may be better prepared for success well into the future,” he said.

Rusty Hicks, TSTC’s corporate development officer, said the gift will help Red Oak’s workforce.

“We are excited to receive this type of commitment,” he said. “Not only will we have students coming to our North Texas campus, but it will get them back into the Red Oak workforce.”

The scholarship will be available to students living within Red Oak’s city limits and may be used for TSTC school-related expenses. Recipients must attend the North Texas campus to be eligible.

Recipients may be traditional or nontraditional students and attend school on a full-time or part-time basis. The scholarship is open to new and current students, and all students must be in good academic and behavioral standing to be eligible.

The college’s staff will award the scholarship, which may be presented to recipients in multiple semesters. 

For more information about TSTC, visit

City of Red Oak and TSTC officials signed an agreement to provide scholarship opportunities to Red Oak residents. Pictured from left to right are Rusty Hicks, TSTC’s corporate development officer; Lee McCleary, Red Oak’s director of economic development; Ben Goodwyn, president of the Red Oak Industrial Development Corp. board; Jessica Toney, chair of The TSTC Foundation board; Beth Wooten, CEO of The TSTC Foundation; Dr. Mark Stanfill, Red Oak’s mayor; and Marcus Balch, provost of TSTC’s North Texas campus. (Photo: TSTC)

TSTC, Waxahachie Partner for Economic Development

(RED OAK, Texas) – Companies looking to move to cities need an available workforce and job training options.

Warren Ketteman, president and chief executive officer of the Waxahachie Economic Development Corp., said Texas State Technical College is important to the city’s economic development because of its training and technical programs.

“Without TSTC and other partners, I cannot do what I do,” Ketteman said.

Ketteman said the manufacturing sector is particularly cognizant of the need for an existing. He said some companies look within an hour’s drive of a city to determine the pool of potential workers. 

“We want all of them to hire local folks, absolutely, because we want to keep those paychecks right here,” Ketteman said. “All economic development is local.”

Marcus Balch, provost of TSTC’s North Texas campus, said the institution has been invited to participate in the Waxahachie Project, which promotes businesses, churches, government and schools coming together for the city’s betterment.

“We have got a pretty solid relationship with Waxahachie,” said Balch. “We have had a number of students from the area in our programs, great support from the Waxahachie Independent School District and a few donors that have assisted with scholarship funds.”

He said the city’s chamber of commerce has also been supportive of TSTC’s work.

“There are a lot of solid connections that we are excited to continue to develop relationships with and aid in economic development in the area,” he said.

Some of the companies in Waxahachie that have hired TSTC graduates in the last five years include H2O Steel, Stelco Industries, Southern Frac LLC, Timco Logistics Systems and Walgreens Distribution Center, according to TSTC’s Career Services department.

Dana Lynch, human resources manager at Walgreens Distribution Center, said the company currently has openings for maintenance technicians and distribution center supervisors. The company is looking for workers through its website and virtual job fairs. 

Erik Shoquist, plant manager at Cardinal Glass Industries in Waxahachie, said a majority of job openings are in production, machine operations and assembly. He said the company has been actively hiring since May.

“We have a very automated facility that requires us to have a very strong information technology and technical group,” Shoquist said. “Our maintenance team makes up about 10 percent of our workforce.”

Shoquist said the company looks for employees who have integrity and motivation to carry on the plant’s culture.

“Over the years we have hired students from TSTC,” he said. “We have been pleased with the strong foundation they built with TSTC, and they have progressed into leadership roles on our maintenance team.”

Ketteman said the city continues to focus on industries like distribution, logistics, technology and medical devices and supplies. He said the city also has its eye on business and data service companies and chip manufacturers.

“Those are really large projects. and they bring a huge tax base to the community,” he said.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to 

TSTC’s Precision Machining Technology Program Ready to Fill Area Jobs

(RED OAK, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Precision Machining Technology program at the North Texas campus this fall has started using a supplemental curriculum from the National Tool & Machining Association to teach students.

Darren Block, TSTC’s statewide lead program instructor, said the curriculum will give students a more thorough education in machining. That, combined with the professional knowledge of faculty members, will help program graduates be more competitive for area jobs. 

In the 16-county area that Workforce Solutions North Central Texas covers, there are more than 8,200 machinists making an hourly wage of between $13 and $25 an hour.

Information from Workforce Solutions indicates that companies posted more than 1,900 listings since Jan. 1, 2020, for jobs in machining-related fields. Some of the employers with the highest number of job postings include Amazon, Cushman & Wakefield, Sabre Industries Inc. and RPO International.

Area economic development and industrial leaders said TSTC is essential for economic growth.

“We are very supportive of what TSTC is doing and the future employees they are teaching and turning out,” said Warren Ketteman, senior director of economic development for the city of Waxahachie.

Ketteman has been making business retention visits to some of the city’s companies and has walked away encouraged about the future.

“Almost every one of the manufacturing companies are hiring,” he said. “When COVID-19 first hit, some had furloughs. But all those people are back, and they are hiring more people. Business is good.”

Grady Easdon, economic development manager for the city of Cleburne, said several existing companies are hiring, and potential ones are eyeing the city because of affordable land costs and a lower cost of living.

Easdon credits Cleburne High School’s career and technical education program for providing opportunities for students.

“They have really developed strong partnerships with our local manufacturing companies and various industries around the area to develop intern programs and offer tours,” Easdon said. “It is just whatever they need to get students interested in pursuing the careers there.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC Computer Programs Shift Online This Fall

(RED OAK, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Computer Networking and Systems Administration program and Cybersecurity program at the North Texas campus will move to an all-online format this fall.

For the 2020-21 academic year, TSTC’s health protocols have caused changes in how many classes are delivered. Some programs are moving to a hybrid format combining online classes and in-person labs, while others will only be taught online. 

“The benefit to our students can potentially be great,” said Jacob Usery, an instructor in TSTC’s Computer Networking and Systems Administration program. “They will already have been practicing current standard operating procedures for remotely managing a network throughout their education.”

Usery said network administrators, systems administrators, help desk technicians and other people in the information technology field have managed remote environments and users for years.

“The ability to successfully work on remote equipment and systems is vital to becoming a valuable technical asset for any organization,” Usery said. “If we are able to start our students on that journey at the academic level, we will produce graduates who have a leg up on their peers in the working world.”

John McGinnis, an instructor in TSTC’s Cybersecurity program, said the move online will give students flexibility to work on their own schedules but still maintain deadlines.

Both programs will offer Occupational Skills Awards for the first time. The OSAs are designed for students to take quickly in order to gain new skills for the workforce. Classes can be completed in less than a semester.

The Basic Computer Networking and Systems Administration OSA will include Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) classes focusing on automation, networking, routing and other topics.

“This is good for career changers and people that are working in the industry and need that extra bump to break through the ceiling,” Usery said. “Also, (it is good for) young people entering the workforce that need to tap into a skill that can provide immediate job prospects upon successful completion.”

The Basic Cybersecurity OSA focuses on information technology security and networking technologies.

Students have a great reason to be optimistic about the current job climate, as indicated by information from Workforce Solutions North Central Texas.

The Workforce Solutions office covers 16 counties, including Ellis County. Some of the employers with the largest number of openings for computer and information systems managers, computer network architects, and software and application developers include Wells Fargo with more than 600 jobs, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. with more than 500. Other employers in North Texas seeking workers include Amazon, Bank of America and Toyota Motors.

Workforce Solutions has designated computer and information systems managers, computer network architects, computer systems analysts, and networking and computer systems administrators as target occupations. Computer and information systems managers had the highest hourly mean wage at $77.69 in 2019, according to data from Workforce Solutions. 

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to 

TSTC Ready to Welcome Students Back This Fall in North Texas

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

“I think the exciting part of the fall to me is we have new students coming to campus to begin their educational journey,” said Marcus Balch, provost of TSTC’s North Texas campus. “The new students, the returning students, the faculty and staff all get to participate in rebuilding the economy of Texas.”

Students will see ample signage promoting campus health and safety, as well as more hand-sanitizing stations. Students will need to wear face coverings at all times, and go in and out of designated entrances and exits at the Jim Pitts Industrial Technology Center. There will be more social distancing in labs. Students will not be allowed on the second floor.

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

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

Programs that will be taught in a hybrid format are Diesel Equipment Technology, Electrical Power and Controls; Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology; Industrial Systems – Electrical Specialization, Precision Machining Technology and Welding Technology. 

“The only time the students will be on campus is to complete the labs,” said Matthew Dobbs, an instructor in TSTC’s Diesel Equipment Technology program. “This will allow the students that work to either have all afternoon or morning to work, or several weekdays  to allow for more work time.”

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. The tutoring staff will connect students virtually to statewide tutors in their subject areas.

One thing that is not changing is TSTC’s commitment to its students.

Career Services is going virtual with its employer spotlights, career preparation workshops and one-on-one meetings with students using Webex and Google Meet.

“Since virtual platforms are the latest and most effective way of communication to ensure social distancing, students are going to have to adapt and get comfortable with speaking in front of a webcam and being spoken to from a computer monitor or laptop,” said Adrian Castanon, a TSTC Career Services coordinator.”

Castanon will have on-campus office hours each Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. starting Aug. 12. He will also be available virtually to work with students Monday through Friday.

Registration for the fall semester is underway.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC to Welcome Students to Several Night Classes This Fall

(RED OAK, Texas) – Students interested in learning in the evenings this fall can pursue a range of technical programs at Texas State Technical College’s North Texas campus.

The Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology program’s daytime and evening students can finish a certificate in three semesters or an associate degree in five semesters.  

“The main reason I am offering night classes in the fall is to provide a service to the possible students that have to work during the day,” said Douglas McCuen, lead instructor of TSTC’s HVAC Technology program. “Evening students would not be able to attend any other way.”

The Precision Machining Technology programs will also offer night classes. Lyle Guinn, a program instructor, said this could allow for more daytime internship opportunities for students.

Students can also work at night in three programs that are shifting to an all-online format in the fall. The programs are Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology, Computer Networking and Systems Administration, and Cybersecurity.

“I think as we learn how to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are going to be people who are underemployed and finding themselves wanting to do more in this new economy,” said Marcus Balch, TSTC’s campus provost. “By having the day and evening class options, we are certainly flexible around work schedules or providing those upscale opportunities as we help build the economy of Texas.”

TSTC will use a hybrid format for programs this fall, with some classes being taught online and others using an in-person and online learning combination. Each program will follow campus and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention safety guidelines.

Registration for the fall semester is underway.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC HVAC Technology Program Receives Equipment Gift

(RED OAK, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s North Texas campus has received an equipment gift from a Mansfield business.

Century A/C Supply has donated a 25-ton York package unit valued at $15,000 to the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology program.

“I was not going to sell it, and I figured I would donate it for a good cause,” said Eric Huddleston, the company’s branch manager.

HVAC Technology students will use the package unit to understand the concept of three-phase wiring and how to troubleshoot three-phase motors.

Rusty Hicks, The TSTC Foundation’s corporate development officer, said the gift signifies the college’s area-wide reach. 

“We are trying to get the word out all over, not just in Ellis County, but all over the Dallas-Fort Worth area,” he said. “We are seeing some really good results. As long as you have good business partners like Century A/C that understand what we are doing and can donate in-kind, they too — like so many of our employers that hire our students — can see the visible results.”

Douglas McCuen, lead instructor of TSTC’s HVAC Technology program, said Huddleston reached out to him earlier this year about the package unit. McCuen said he is grateful for the equipment.

“He was even kind enough to deliver the equipment to our campus,” McCuen said. “He even had the forethought to have the delivery person bring fork extensions so we could use them on the campus forklift.”

For more information on how to make a gift to TSTC, go to

TSTC and Midlothian Forge Relationships to Increase Educational Opportunities

(RED OAK, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s North Texas campus continues to strengthen relationships with municipalities throughout Ellis County. Midlothian, in the northwest part of the county, has proven to be a supportive partner in promoting technical education to residents.

“There has been a lot of collaboration with Midlothian,” said Marcus Balch, TSTC’s provost.

And, there are a lot of people in the area to recruit as potential students.

The city had more than 33,000 residents as of July 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. About 93 percent of residents age 25 and older have at least a high school education. Twenty-nine percent of residents have at least a bachelor’s degree.

Kyle Kinateder, president and chief executive officer of the Midlothian Economic Development Corp., said TSTC plays an important  role when companies are considering sites in the city. The city has the Midlothian Business Park and RailPort Business Park where companies can consider locating.

“We provide our prospects a variety of information on the many training and educational opportunities available in our community; however, it’s far more impactful when we can connect them with one of our many existing businesses that have a positive, first-hand experience working with TSTC,” he said. “This company-to-company approach helps to ensure our prospects that TSTC was there for our existing businesses and they will be there for them too.”

Kinateder said TSTC’s Automotive Technology, Computer Aided Drafting and Design, Engineering, Precision Machining Technology and Welding Technology are some of the technical programs fitting in with Midlothian’s economic plans.

“A resident of Midlothian could pick from any of the programs and graduate fully qualified for the many open jobs currently available in our area,” he said.

TSTC’s Workforce Training department has done specialized training in the past for the Target Distribution Center and Gerdau Ameristeel, both in Midlothian.

Balch said Gerdau Ameristeel continues to send employees to study in the Industrial Systems – Electrical Specialization program. The first cohort of company workers graduated from TSTC in summer 2018.

Jayelle Kryder, Gerdau’s human resources manager, said the company has had three graduating cohorts with 31 employees and another two cohorts, or 18 workers, now studying at TSTC. She said the employees come from throughout the plant.

Kryder said TSTC has been able to adapt the curriculum to the company’s specific needs and equipment. The company works with employees’ schedules to enable them to attend classes one day a week. 

“We have been very fortunate to work with such a collaborative team at TSTC,” Kryder said. “Our employees come away from the program with comprehensive technical knowledge in industrial maintenance. We place these students in (Gerdau’s) maintenance apprenticeship positions early in the program so they can pair the technical knowledge they gain at TSTC with hands-on experience at our plant. We have found that to be the best approach to their development.”

Darrell Phillips, manager of Mid-Way Regional Airport in Midlothian, has had meetings with campus leaders on how to work together in the future.

“We do have an interest in education,” he said. “We want to do some sort of educational program at the airport for our region. I want to get the kids in our area interested in aviation. We are open to looking at some type of opportunity.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to