(HUTTO, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Precision Machining Technology program has started using a supplemental curriculum from the National Tool &Machining Association this fall to teach students.
Darren Block, TSTC’s statewide program lead, said students will get a more thorough education in machining, combined with the professional knowledge that faculty members bring to labs and lectures.
The program is using a hybrid teaching format for classes, with some being online and others involving in-person lab work.
Block is feeling good about machining jobs in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If it is man-made, we had our hands on it,” he said.
Waggoner Manufacturing Inc. in Round Rock manufactures and services aluminum, machined plastic, and stainless steel components and parts for the worldwide semiconductor automation and communication industries.
Michael Wohlford, the company’s plant manager, said high school students, and those who want a career change, should have a personal appreciation for machining.
“They can watch YouTube videos and see firsthand how the CNC (computer numerical controlled) machines work, and they can have stars in their eyes and say it’s really cool and they would want to learn how to get into that,” Wohlford said.
He said the company likes to have job applicants who already have experience working with CNC machines in machine shops. New hires are trained in the company’s way of doing work.
Mark Thomas, president and chief executive officer of the Taylor Economic Development Corp., has reason to be optimistic about the future.
“We have had many projects, from small companies all the way to larger ones, that would love to have some level of comfort that they can hire machinists if they moved to our area,” he said.
Thomas said there is promise for the 750-acre RCR Taylor Logistics Park west of the city. The industrial park offers Union Pacific and BNSF rail service and has Foreign Trade Zone, Opportunity Zone and Triple Freeport designations.
“Our expectation is there will be advanced manufacturing and potential suppliers that we have already been talking to coming into that rail park,” Thomas said. “If we can say there is a training capacity for graduates or there are workers out there that need good jobs, any of these we can put to a good advantage to create jobs in the Taylor area.”
For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.