Lometa Student Looks for Glowing Future After TSTC Graduation

(WACO, Texas) – Faustino Laessig of Lometa felt right at home in the auto collision labs at Texas State Technical College’s Waco campus.

“I’ve always been fixing things up and making them look good,” he said.

Laessig is an associate degree candidate for graduation in the Auto Collision and Management Technology program at TSTC’s Fall 2019 Commencement at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, at the Waco Convention Center.

“I’ve learned a lot,” he said. “I’m really proud of my welding and metal repairs.”

He said he found motivation for his studies in his desire to complete class projects. Some of his other favorite lessons involved airbrushing.

Marc Garcia of Waco is also a candidate for graduation in the Auto Collision and Management Technology program and took several classes with Laessig. Garcia said he admires Laessig’s welding and measuring skills.

“I think he will do great,” Garcia said. “I can see him going places.”

Laessig placed first in Collision Repair Technology at this year’s SkillsUSA Texas Postsecondary State Leadership and Skills Conference held in Waco. The victory catapulted him to represent Texas at this summer’s 55th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

“I really enjoyed it,” Laessig said. “It brought experience I would not get in class. You got one-on-one time with the instructors. It didn’t feel like work. It was really fun.”

Jacob Pevia, an instructor in TSTC’s Auto Collision and Management Technology program, taught Laessig during his first semester. Pevia also worked with Laessig as he prepared for SkillsUSA competitions.

“I’ve seen him flourish from a guy who knew absolutely nothing about the technology to the best guy I have had this semester,” Pevia said.

Laessig graduated in 2017 from Lometa High School, where he played multiple sports and learned welding in his agriculture classes.

He visited TSTC on campus tours organized by his high school during his junior and senior years. He said TSTC was a good choice for him because of the cost.

“I was a little nervous for the first few weeks,” Laessig said. “I wasn’t sure if this was what I wanted to do. I told myself to stick with it, and I liked it.”

Laessig is looking at job possibilities at auto collision businesses in Central Texas.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu. 

TSTC automotive student races toward career

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – In one year, Texas State Technical College student Christopher Machado will earn an associate degree in Automotive Technology, making him the first in his family to graduate from college.

But the 19-year-old also has one other thing to be proud of: He already has a full-time job in his chosen career field.

“It’s great to be working already,” said Machado. “I feel like this makes me one step closer to my goal.”

The Brownsville native is a lube technician at Luke Fruia Motors in Brownsville.

“Once I started school, I realized it was time to find a place where I can grow,” he said. “And that’s were Luke Fruia came into the picture.”TSTC Automotive Technology Christopher Machado

Machado said his interest in cars goes back to his being a child helping his father and uncle repair and refurbish vintage cars.

“I grew up around auto mechanics. That’s all I’ve ever known,” he said. “Yet not going to college wasn’t an option. So TSTC’s automotive program was the perfect choice.”

From hands-on training in the classroom to using what he learns in real life, Machado has become a well-rounded student.

“I take things from the classroom and apply it at work, and I take things from work and apply it in the classroom,” he said. “I already feel like I’ve grown as an automotive professional because of this opportunity.”

Machado also credits his instructors for his newfound success.

“They have so much experience and knowledge to pass along,” he said. “Not to mention they’re understanding. They have been able to work with my schedule so that I can work but still get my education.”

Cris Cisneros, Luke Fruia Motors’ service manager and Machado’s direct supervisor, described Machado as a skilled, dependable, reliable and punctual employee.

“He may still be a student, but he came to us with impressive skills and the willingness to learn,” said Cisneros. “He is a great asset to the company, and there will be growth opportunities for him in the near future.”

Cisneros added that Luke Fruia has a longtime relationship with TSTC and has hired other TSTC automotive students and graduates in the past.

“We’ve always had a great experience with TSTC, its instructors, students and graduates,” he said. 

Although Machado has already learned a lot and improved on his skills since entering the program, he said he still has a lot to learn.

“All of the experiences I have been exposed to have opened my eyes into deeper levels of the industry,” he said. “There are constantly new techniques and processes to learn, and I know this next year will continue to prepare me for my career.”

Machado’s ultimate goal is to work on race cars, and he knows that to get good-paying jobs, education is key.

“Education is so important to me because that’s what’s going to open doors of opportunity for me in this industry,” he said. “Nearly every job requires some sort of certificate or degree.”

Automotive Technology is also offered at TSTC’s Sweetwater and Waco campuses.

For more information on Automotive Technology, visit https://tstc.edu/programs/AutomotiveTechnology.

TSTC business program creates office professionals

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Graduates from Business Management Technology at Texas State Technical College can work in a variety of industries, some even becoming entrepreneurs or business owners.

TSTC Business Management Technology lead instructor Edna Claus said that in order to prepare the program’s students for successful careers, faculty focus on hands-on training that will allow for quick learning and well-rounded graduates.TSTC Business Management Technology

“Our program is a great place to gain the experience you need to learn the ins and outs of a business environment,” said Claus. “And we do whatever possible to help our students and graduates succeed.”

Claus added that Business Management Technology graduates are always in demand regionally and statewide, and job opportunities are virtually limitless. The program currently boasts a 95% job placement rate and is also offered 100% online.  

Claus went on to give an in-depth look into the program.

What is the length of the program?

Business Management Technology offers two pathways. A student can obtain either a Certificate 2 in one year or an Associate of Applied Science degree in 1 1/2 years.

What can students expect when they graduate?

In addition to earning a certificate or associate degree, students also have the option of getting a Microsoft Office Specialist certification and a QuickBooks certification.

What skills do students learn in Business Management Technology?

Students in the program learn advanced Microsoft Office skills in areas such as Excel, Access, Word and PowerPoint; management skills in marketing, human resources and communication; accounting principles and payroll; and business operations and business-plan writing.

What types of technologies are used to learn these skills?

Business Management Technology students have access to five fully-equipped labs complete with industry-standard software for training. Students are also required to create a LinkedIn account complete with a professional headshot and resume that will help with the job-placement process.

How do these skills prepare a student for the workforce?

By training with industry-standard software, students will be familiar with what they encounter in the workforce and will have the skills necessary to successfully complete work-related tasks, which will open doors of opportunities and growth.

What types of positions can a graduate from this program obtain?

Graduates from this program can work as bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks; billing and posting clerks; payroll and timekeeping clerks; secretaries and administrative assistants; and entrepreneurs.

They can find employment in a number of places, such as schools, restaurants, retail and food stores, and government agencies. 

TSTC machining program introduces evening classes

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Precision Machining Technology at Texas State Technical College will offer evening classes starting in Spring 2020 for the first time.

TSTC Precision Machining Technology lead instructor Isaac Gonzalez said this change came about because of student and industry demand.

“This change is going to allow for more student flexibility,” said Gonzalez. “There is no need for someone to have to give up an education because they have responsibilities and obligations during the day.”

Starting next semester, both Precision Machining Technology certificate and associate degree plans will be 100% obtainable by taking evening courses, with classes and labs open Monday through Friday from 5:30 to 10 p.m.TSTC Precision Machining Technology

“This expansion has been in the works for about a year,” said Gonzalez. “We’re excited to kick it off next semester. We already have students registered and ready to take the next step toward a career.”

Gonzalez added that by expanding the program’s offerings, it will be able to serve and retain more students, in line with TSTC’s mission of placing more Texans in great-paying jobs.

“Highly skilled and well-trained machinists are in high demand right now, regionally and statewide,” said Gonzalez. “This is going to help us meet industry demand, meaning our students will be more marketable and sought-after.”

The program already boasts a 98% job-placement rate, with many of its students accepting job offers before they graduate.

Many of the industry partners hiring the program’s graduates are also interested in sending employees to TSTC for additional training.

“Not only will offering evening classes open doors to more students, but it also benefits our industry partners who want additional training for their employees,” said Gonzalez. “They will now be able to work by day and study by night.”

Gonzalez said evening classes are just the beginning for Precision Machining Technology. Starting in 2021, the program will expand to include performance-based education and online classes.

Performance-based education will give students the flexibility of choosing a schedule that fits their lifestyle and also set them up to graduate quicker.

“Evening classes, online classes and flexible schedules are all growing in popularity,” said Gonzalez. “And by bringing this to our students, they will be able to begin their careers faster.”

Any new student who registers for evening classes before December 6 will be eligible for a $500 Gene Haas Scholarship, and Brownsville residents who register will also be eligible for a $500 Mike Hernandez Scholarship.

Registration for Spring 2020 has begun and runs through January 10.

For more information on Precision Machining Technology, visit https://tstc.edu/programs/PrecisionMachiningTechnology.   

TSTC provides electrifying career opportunities

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – The demand for electrical power and controls technicians is high and continuously increasing, which is why Texas State Technical College and its Electrical Power and Controls program are working diligently to produce highly skilled graduates.

“The industry is growing by leaps and bounds around the industrial centers in the Gulf Coast region,” said TSTC Electrical Power and Controls instructor Jonathan Bonkoske. “And with the mix of retirees and employee promotions, the demand will continue to increase.”

To meet that demand and fill a need, students who enroll in TSTC’s Electrical Power and Controls program can earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in approximately 18 months.

In the program, students can gain skills such as electrical safety, electrical design and engineering practices, electrical distribution equipment and component testing and evaluation, speed motor control circuit design, programming and troubleshooting, and electrical calculations.TSTC Electrical Power and Controls

“This highly diverse and well-rounded set of skills and experience will produce a potential employee that can fill different roles within a company,” said Bonkoske.

To learn and practice these skills before entering the workforce, students have access to labs that include industry-standard electrical distribution, transmission, equipment testing, automation, instrumentation motion-control tools, transformers and electrical motors.

“Being familiar and knowledgeable in these different areas gives the students options to select from many career opportunities and does not lock them into a specialty, which increases their hireability,” said Bonkoske. “Our graduates in this area are highly sought-after because of their hands-on skills and directly related work experience gained in the classroom and labs.”

Electrical Power and Controls statewide has a 94% job-placement rate with many of its graduates finding work as an electrical field service technician, electrical maintenance technician, electrical designer, instrumentation technician, automation technician or motion control technician.

Program graduates have found employment with such companies as Burns & McDonnell, Dashiell, Eaton Corporation, Wood Group and Schlumberger.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a person in this field can make, on average, nearly $64,000 per year.

Electrical Power and Controls is also offered at TSTC’s Abilene, East Williamson County, North Texas and Waco campuses. It is part of the college’s Money-Back Guarantee program, which refunds the tuition of participating graduates if they do not find a job in their career field within six months of graduation..

Registration for Spring 2020 is underway.

For more information, visit https://tstc.edu/programs/ElectricalPowerControls

Leander Student Eager to Mark Graduation Milestone at TSTC

(HUTTO, Texas) – Nick Short of Leander copes daily with his challenges, using determination and heart.

Short, a Cybersecurity student at Texas State Technical College’s East Williamson County campus, has dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. He is reaping the rewards of his hard work as a candidate for graduation at TSTC’s Fall 2019 Commencement at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, at the East Williamson County Higher Education Center in Hutto.

“I like the feeling of getting over certain milestones,” Short said. “I have had to really push myself to do what I need to be doing. I struggle some.”

Working in the technology field runs in Short’s family. His father works at Cisco in Austin and his brother is a network engineer.

“I feel really confident with what I know,” Short said.

Joshua Schier, a TSTC Cybersecurity instructor, said he admired Short’s natural instinct to understand concepts.

“Nick has made my job easier,” he said. “Nick will go wherever he wants to go. He is confident in his abilities.”

Short was home-schooled and attended public school until going to college.

“In eighth grade, I had a third-grade reading and spelling level,” Short said. “At that point, my mother taught me to push through it.”

He attended another two-year college in the Austin area before enrolling at TSTC, which he chose because it offered the program he was interested in and was close to home.

“The people I have met are pretty cool,” Short said. “The people here are passionate about getting the material down.”

Short plans to take the Cisco Certified Network Associate certification test in December. After that, he will leave in January for Colorado, where he will participate in a Youth With A Mission Discipleship Training School curriculum focused on film, journalism and photography. Short said he will use the trip as an outlet for creativity and to grow in his faith.

“Six months is a long time taking a hiatus from what all I have been doing, but I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

Short also wants to pursue a bachelor’s degree and work in the security field in the Austin area in the future.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu. 

TSTC diesel program powers students’ success

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – The construction and transportation industry in the Houston area and statewide is rapidly growing, meaning that a skilled workforce is very much in demand.

Texas State Technical College is helping to fill that need with its technical programs like Diesel Equipment Technology.

TSTC Diesel Equipment Technology instructor Brandon Foster said that program faculty receive numerous calls from employers who have attended Employer Spotlights on campus and want to recruit TSTC graduates.TSTC Diesel Equipment Technology

“Our graduates are in high demand. Skilled diesel technicians are in high demand,” he said. “And we’re working diligently to ensure that our graduates are job-ready.”

To accomplish that, the program focuses on hands-on training to teach the appropriate skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the industry.

Students have access to a large shop that is equipped with industry-standard technology, such as training aids for hydraulic, brake and electrical systems, to learn skills in diagnosing, troubleshooting, repair and maintenance.

The shop is also complete with heavy-duty diesel trucks, bulldozers and front-end loaders.

“All of our equipment allows for a real-world experience,” said Foster. “And the skills they learn can be applied immediately to tasks they will find in the workforce.”

In addition to technical skills, soft skills such as resume building, interviewing, writing, leadership and communication are also a focus for the program.

“Soft skills are just as important as technical skills,” said Foster. “They have to be effective writers and communicators; all jobs require you to be.”

After completing one of three pathways — certificate one, certificate two or an associate degree — a student can work as a diesel mechanic technician, maintenance technician, construction equipment technician, engine specialist or heavy-duty equipment mechanic.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of diesel service technicians and mechanics is projected to grow five percent through 2028, faster than all other occupations, with a median pay of $22 per hour.

Companies who have hired TSTC Diesel Equipment Technology graduates include Chevron, Freightliner, Halliburton, Holt Equipment, John Deere and Peterbilt.

Diesel Equipment Technology is also offered at TSTC’s Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater and Waco campuses.

For more information, visit https://tstc.edu/programs/DieselEquipmentTechnology.

San Angelo Student Driven by TSTC Toyota Program

(WACO, Texas) – Ricardo Echeverria of San Angelo did not go to college right after graduating from the city’s Central High School in 2017.

He went to work at Mitchell Toyota in San Angelo as a lube technician, but said he knew he needed to advance his career.

A dealership employee recommended that Echeverria give Texas State Technical College’s Automotive Technology – Toyota Technician Training and Education Network, or T-TEN, specialization a look. He began classes at the Waco campus in fall 2018.

“It’s been really good,” Echeverria said. “It’s a lot of hands-on and very informational. The instructors have been good teaching and spending one-on-one time with us.”

Echeverria said his favorite lessons have dealt with engines.

“We get to take the engine apart, and we put it back together and make sure the specs are correct,” he said.

During the summer, Echeverria went back to work at Mitchell Toyota as a main line technician diagnosing and fixing customers’ problems.

“The technicians are very helpful and understood I was a student,” he said. “It opened my eyes to the real world.”

Tony Palmer, Mitchell Toyota’s service manager, said he likes Echeverria’s motivation to better himself. He said students like Echeverria are good for programs like T-TEN.

“If they (students) just had the knowledge that the program is there and if they want to do that type of work in the field, it would be a great option for them,” Palmer said.

After graduating from TSTC, Echeverria said he wants to return to San Angelo to work at the Toyota dealership and later work in San Antonio.

TSTC’s Waco campus is one of four two-year institutions in Texas offering the Toyota curriculum, along with more than 30 two-year colleges nationwide. T-TEN is a consortium of Lexus and Toyota dealerships and two-year colleges developing students with industry-backed training to work in more than 1,500 dealerships nationwide as factory-certified technicians.

“We can take them from almost knowing nothing to being good technicians,” said Roy “Rip” Plumlee, a TSTC Automotive Technology instructor who teaches some of the T-TEN courses.

The program curriculum was revamped this year to have students spend half of their semesters in classes learning about automotive electrical systems, brake systems, climate control systems and other topics, and the remaining weeks working at Toyota dealerships. Plumlee said students who come from throughout Texas to attend TSTC must maintain work at a Toyota dealership to stay in the program.

Plumlee said he has an agreement with his students for them to send him an email when their salaries reach a high level after graduation.

“I hope they go on to long-term, successful careers at Toyota,” he said.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu. 

TSTC machining program shapes careers

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – With manufacturing on the rise, the number of skilled machinists needed in the industry is also increasing.

And Precision Machining Technology at Texas State Technical College is working to produce the machinists needed to meet the demand.TSTC Precision Machining Technology

TSTC Precision Machining Technology lead instructor Isaac Gonzalez said he receives phone calls very often from local and statewide companies requesting his graduates, and with a job placement rate of 98%, many of the program’s students accept job offers before even graduating.

What is the length of the program?

Precision Machining Technology offers two degree paths: certificate, one year; associate of applied science, two years.

What can students expect when they graduate?

Before graduating from Precision Machining Technology, students have the option to earn a Haas Certification, which certifies them as a computer numerical control (CNC) machinist, and a Mastercam Certification, which certifies that the student is trained and knowledgeable in computer-aided manufacturing software.

What skills do students learn in Precision Machining Technology?

Students in the program will learn skills in manufacturing programming, design, manual machining, CNC programming and machining, blueprint reading and engineering graphics.

In addition to technical skills, students will also learn soft skills such as communication, time management, and organization.

What types of technologies are used to learn these skills?

Precision Machining Technology focuses its training on hands-on learning. Students in the program have access to a fully equipped machine shop with machining tools, CNC machines, lathes, mills and precision grinders. Computer labs are also available for students to learn and practice their skills in design and programming.

How do these skills prepare a student for the workforce?

By learning these skills, students will become well-rounded Precision Machining Technology graduates who are familiar with and have knowledge about industry-standard equipment and processes. Their versatile skills and additional certifications will allow them to be more marketable and competitive when starting their careers.

What types of positions can a graduate from this program obtain?

Graduates from the program can find positions as CNC technicians, manual machinists, tool and die machinists, and quality control inspectors.

Companies that have already hired TSTC Precision Machining Technology graduates include Atlantic Tool & Die, Consulting Point, Delta Centrifugal, ITD Precision, Raytheon and Toyota.

First-generation college student designs her life at TSTC

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – As a first-generation college student, Marisol Arias is proving to herself and others that she can break barriers for herself and her family.

The Brownsville native is an Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology student at Texas State Technical College, where she is expected to graduate in Spring 2020 with an associate degree.

“I can’t believe it’s almost time,” said the 19-year-old. “It’s exciting. I can’t wait to discover all of the opportunities out there.”

In fact, opportunity has already come knocking.TSTC ADEG Marisol Arias

Arias is working in her degree field at Home and Commercial Designs in Brownsville, where she was hired after completing a one-year internship.

“This has been a huge opportunity for me to practice my skills and apply what I am learning in the classroom to the real world,” she said. “To be getting this type of experience before graduating is surreal and a dream come true.”

Arias said her love for art and drawing led her to architecture and design in high school, and when she had the opportunity to take an Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics class at TSTC as a high school student, she knew this was her program of choice.

But being the first in her family to attend college, she had a few hurdles to jump.

“I navigated a lot of the high-school-to-college transition on my own,” she said. “The process was foreign to my family, but thankfully my high school counselors and the staff at TSTC helped me figure it all out.”

By overcoming these obstacles, Arias said she had access to hands-on training that is preparing her for a successful career, instructors who have supported and encouraged her, and an internship that has allowed her to start her career before even graduating.

“I never imagined I would be where I am today,” she said. “I have gained so much by attending TSTC, and it’s only the beginning.”

Arias boasts a perfect 4.0 grade-point average and said her goal is to maintain it so she can graduate as a TSTC Board of Regents honors graduate and make her family proud.

“Everything I am doing is to give my family a better future,” she said. “I want to help my parents with financial stability and be able to support my brother’s educational journey. I hope I can make them proud.”

Arias’ parents always emphasized the importance of an education and college.

“In our home, education has always been a priority,” said Arias. “And I want to set that example for my brother and pave the way for him. He has already said he’s coming to TSTC.”

With hopes of growing within the industry, Arias also dreams of owning an architectural design firm someday.

“I have my entire future ahead of me. Only time will tell where I end up,” she said. “But one thing for sure is that I am proud that I will be able to call myself a college graduate.”

Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics is also offered online, and beginning in Spring 2020 it will offer evening classes.

For more information, visit https://tstc.edu/programs/DraftingDesign