TSTC, Eaton partnership provides first-class training

A new partnership between Texas State Technical College and power management company Eaton is giving TSTC Electrical Power and Controls students an invaluable training opportunity.

Eaton, a global technology leader in electrical systems, and TSTC have been working closely for a year to create a program that would open the doors of Eaton’s Experience Center in Houston for the program’s students.

“I can’t put into words how valuable this partnership with Eaton is for our students and TSTC,” said TSTC Electrical Power and Controls instructor Jonathan Bonkoske. “This is a dream come true, and we are looking forward to the kind of opportunity this can bring.”

Recently the current cohort of Electrical Power and Controls students was invited to tour and train at the Eaton Experience Center, which provides a unique ability to give visitors hands-on training in a true application environment.

“This place is perfect to provide our students with a firsthand look as to what they can expect when they enter the field,” said Bonkoske. “And it also gives our students the chance to network with industry professionals.”

Although TSTC’s Electrical Power and Controls lab offers industry-standard equipment and tools, Bonkoske said there’s nothing that compares to seeing and using it out in the field.

TSTC Electrical Power and Controls student Thomas Penney from West Columbia, Texas, said that the training he receives at TSTC, in addition to the training he received at the Eaton Experience Center, has prepared him for a successful career.

“This experience has truly been an eye-opener,” said Penney. “I give our instructors props for working hard to give us this type of opportunity and for setting us up for success.”

Penney plans to graduate with his associate degree this summer and said he hopes this newly formed partnership will continue for years to come to benefit other students.

“This is great real-world experience, and I hope others that come after our class have the same opportunity,” said Penney. “I’m pretty sure it’ll only get better from here.”

Eaton District Operations Manager Joe Montanari and Bonkoske agree that this partnership promises to grow over time.

“This partnership is our contribution to education,” said Montanari. “And when I toured TSTC and the Electrical Power and Controls labs, they left an impression. Many students don’t get the type of training TSTC students receive.”

Montanari said the hands-on training the Eaton Experience Center provides is a supplement to what students are already learning at TSTC, and future plans for the partnership include supporting the program with equipment and tools, sending field engineers and technicians to the college for presentations, and ultimately hiring TSTC graduates.

Montanari’s counterparts in North Texas already work closely with and hire graduates from TSTC in Waco.

“TSTC students come highly recommended,” said Montanari. “And I’ve already been impressed with the students’ engagement, willingness to learn and excitement they have shown us.”

Bonkoske added that the opportunities found at Eaton’s Experience Center extend beyond Electrical Power and Controls, and he hopes in the near future he can incorporate Electrical Lineworker Technology, Cyber Security Technology and Industrial Maintenance into this training experience.

Electrical Power and Controls is also offered at TSTC’s Abilene, North Texas, Waco and Williamson County campuses.

For more information on the program, visit tstc.edu.