(ABILENE) – West Texas students are getting a taste of college life when taking dual credit classes at Texas State Technical College.
This semester, the Aviation Maintenance program is hosting high school students from the Clyde and Hawley school districts, and the Abilene Independent School District is sending secondary students to the new Electrical Power and Controls program.
“It shows we are working to give them an educational option,” said Kim Porter, TSTC’s vice president for student recruitment.
Students travel four afternoons a week to TSTC for general classes in the Aircraft Airframe Technology and Aircraft Powerplant Technology certificate programs.
“This gives the high school students the ability to sample and see an educational program and career field before they have even left high school,” said Josh Parker, a TSTC Aviation Maintenance instructor. “There is currently a labor shortage in the aircraft maintenance field, and all industry analysts are predicting the shortage to last many years to come. The job market for the graduates of our two-year program is booming, and with that boom, starting wages are going up as well.”
This is the third year TSTC’s Aviation Maintenance program has hosted high school students.
“I think it is beneficial for the students to work alongside the college students and do the rigorous work,” said Paula Kinslow, Clyde Consolidated ISD’s director of curriculum and special programs. “It’s not something that is unattainable. With the students going into a career field that is in high demand, we can help them get in and go forward.”
Clyde CISD also has students taking dual credit classes in TSTC’s Culinary Arts and Welding Technology programs in Abilene.
Kinslow said TSTC is a natural fit because of proximity and affordability.
“We are really proud of our kids and want to provide the most for them,” Kinslow said.
Less than 20 juniors and seniors from Abilene High School began a 12-week semester earlier this week in the Electrical Power and Controls program at TSTC’s new Industrial Technology Center. The students will travel to the campus five afternoons a week.
“The students can earn six semester credit hours that can be used for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Electrical Power and Controls at TSTC,” said Ketta Garduno, AISD’s director of career and technical education. “The DCOA (Development Corporation of Abilene) provided scholarship funds for eligible students who applied, and AISD, for this year, is covering the cost of transportation, books and supplies.”
For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.