TSTC Students Learn the Lines at Oncor

(RED OAK) – Four of Texas State Technical College’s brightest High Voltage Electrical students have been brought on as interns at Oncor Electric for the spring 2016 semester. The students, Ricardo Perez, Nicholas Garus, Jesse Vasquez and Caleb Santos, began their internships in January.
The program, now called Electrical Power & Controls, teaches students about automatic and programmable controls, alternating and direct current circuits, details of electrical power distribution centers and how to design commercial and residential electrical systems.
Program Chair Leroy White said he believes his students were chosen because of their familiarity with the equipment used.
“The ABB metal clad medium voltage switchgear that we use in our lab is the same type of equipment they have at Oncor,” said White. They were impressed with that because the students were learning on a major piece of equipment they will work with at Oncor on a daily basis.”
But according to White, an even more important aspect the students learn is safety.
“The electrical field is very dangerous, so safety is number one,” White said. “We teach them to be safe by themselves, and to be safe working in a group. They learn to have a respect for electricity, the proper use of tools and testing equipment, and we give them an excellent foundation of electrical principles.”
Jerry Pierce, Oncor‘s Maintenance and Construction Supervisor at Fort Worth Transmission, oversaw the process of hiring the students. He said Oncor chose to recruit at TSTC because the college is respected by industry.
“Their High Voltage Electrical degree plan prepares students for real-life experiences,” Pierce said. “TSTC offers degree plans that prepares their students in electrical theory, high voltage electrical equipment, microprocessor relays, programmable logic controllers and instrumentation. These skills are highly desired in today’s electrical utility business.”
Each of the students is working in a different area of north Texas, including Grand Prairie, Forney, north Dallas and Fort Worth.
Jesse Vasquez works in Fort Worth under Jerry Pierce. Pierce said Vasquez is doing a good job.
“He’s motivated to learn our business and wants to make the most of this opportunity,” Pierce said. “I really appreciate his efforts.”
Ricardo Perez, who is working in the Grand Prairie area, said he is helping with whatever tasks are thrown at him.
“Right now we’re repairing a load tap changer. We’re taking out the old parts and putting in new ones,” Perez said. “We’ve also been working on a Mitsubishi breaker. One of the phases had actually failed, so we had to take it out, clean it and replace it.”
His schooling has helped prepare him for what he’s seeing on the job.
“Because of the classes I took at TSTC I’m able to understand what my supervisors are explaining,” Perez said. “I understand the language and I’m able to grasp what’s going on.”
Nicholas Garus, who is working in Irving, said he is learning a lot from his mentors.
“I’m only an intern right now, so I’m learning a lot of new things,” Garus said. “I’m not an expert like these guys are. It’s good information to know, because there’s a lot to learn.”
The students will graduate in August.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an average annual salary of $66,090 for Electrical and Electronics Repairers in Texas. With a 22 percent increase in jobs expected through 2022, its career outlook is bright.

TSTC offers the Associate of Applied Science in Electrical Power & Controls at the North Texas and Waco campuses. The college will begin registering for summer and fall classes on April 4. For more information on the college, or the Electrical Power & Controls program, visit www.tstc.edu.

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