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PMT Program Lauded for Producing Great Machinists

Saturday, June 14, 2014
By Eladio Jaimez

PMTUnited Machine Works (UMW) Human Resource Manager Amado Azua was at Texas State Technical College this week looking for the best machinist in the state of Texas.

“Nobody in the state better prepares their students than TSTC,” Azua told students from the Precision Manufacturing Technology (PMT) Program. “TSTC gives its students the core competency needed to be successful in the machining industry.”

UMW manufactures tooling for the booming oil and gas industry and has recently started relying on the talent produced by TSTC’s PMT Program to fill its workforce needs. Other industries employing machinists include the automotive, and tool and dye industries.

“A lot of time workers aren’t prepared,” Azua said. “With TSTC, we know what we’re getting so we’ve looked to TSTC to fill that void.”

The oil and gas industry is just one of many which employ TSTC graduates, according to Program Chair Rick Limas.

“Here we train students to run precision machines that make precision products,” Limas said. “We help make all the components we use in everyday life. Even mass-produced products go through the hands of a machinist at one time or another.”

In the last two years, Limas said about 60 students come through the program and that industry can’t find enough graduates to fill the void.

“There’s a shortage in qualified machinists,” Limas said. “That’s what we do here. We train qualified machinists to fill that growing need left by the aging baby boomer generation.”

Limas said that in the past two years, job placement has been 100 percent and in the last five years about 97 percent.

In the Valley, starting pay ranges from $9-10 per hour, Limas said. But outside of the Valley, starting pay starts ranges from $15-21 per hour.

Limas said Toyota Manufacturing in San Antonio, Bell Helicopter in Arlington and Raytheon in Dallas have recently contacted him asking for students to work for their companies.

Neil Nino of Brownsville is completing his first year in the program and has been reassured many times he made the right choice.

“For one, there’s a lot of job opportunities after graduation,” Nino said. “And it’s all hands-on work and a lot of fun if you enjoy that type of work.”

Limas said this career track is perfect for anyone, like Nino, who likes to work with their hands.

“Its man and machine,” Limas said. “Man let’s machine do its job but the operator is in control of it all.”

For more information on the PMT Program, go to http://www.tstc.edu/harlingenmachining.

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