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Inaugural Competency-Based Learning Group Walks Stage

Monday, May 19, 2014
By Eladio Jaimez

CompetencyIt was a night of celebration at the 2014 Texas State Technical College Spring Commencement ceremony at the Harlingen Municipal Auditorium as the first group of students from the Competency-Based Learning (CBL) Program graduated from the Industrial System's Technology (IST) Program.

The CBL is a skilled workforce initiative launched by Governor Rick Perry in November 2012 that would cut the time necessary for a student to earn a certificate and join the workforce. TSTC is the only college in the state to offer this program.

On Friday, six students graduated from the IST Program with a Certificate I. Program Chair Adam Hernandez said the road wasn't easy but definitely well worth the work.

"It was a difficult at times," Hernandez said. "There was a lot of work from the instructional side and the students had to put in a lot of work too. But everyone did their part and it was a success."

TSTC leaders worked closely with state government, education and manufacturing leaders to match up learning activities with industry-validated competencies. As students mastered the individual competencies they moved through the program at their own speed.

"There were some challenges being a first-time program but we managed and the students did a great job of adjusting," Hernandez said. "We helped guide them through and now here we are at graduation...it's very rewarding for all of us."

Former electrician David Echeverria graduated from the program and credited the instructors for facilitating their journey to graduation.

"Our advisors and instructors deserve the credit," Echeverria said. "It was a lot of work but we got through it with their help."

Texas Governor Rick Perry visited TSTC in November 2012 to announce the skilled workforce initiative, which was a partnership between Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Texas Workforce Commission, the Texas Education Agency and the TSTC System.

Perry said during a press conference in 2012 that the biggest demand for skilled workers was in manufacturing and that demand is expected to increase by 10 percent by 2020.

The IST program is currently recruiting a new class of students. For more information or to register, contact Adam Hernandez at 956-364-4982 or 956-364-4633. You can also contact him via email at adam.hernandez@tstc.edu.

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