(MARSHALL) - Four Industrial Controls Technology students at Texas State Technical College in Marshall are receiving scholarships and valuable experience this year at Eastman Chemical Co. in Longview.
The company offered paid summer internships to Alex Archer, 24, of Shreveport, La.; Bailey Green, 19, of Ore City; Dakota Skinner, 19, of Hughes Springs and Zach Stalnaker, 22, of Longview. The students enrolled for fall classes and received scholarships from the company to pay for their education until graduation.
"None of them were scholarship students out of high school," said Garland Underwood, a workforce technologist for 33 years at Eastman. "They were in the top of their class and they were what we were looking for. We turned around and gave scholarships to those four students for their second year."
The students have worked with troubleshooting, calibrations and device, pump, motor and instrument installation at Eastman.
"I enjoy working at Eastman because the people that I work with are very understanding and take the time to teach and show me how things work," said Archer, a 2009 graduate of C.E. Byrd High School in Shreveport. "I appreciate the financial help."
Green, a 2014 graduate of Ore City High School, said he was grateful for the financial help, too.
"Eastman has made a big impact on me. This experience will definitely help me in the future regarding school work and what goes on in the field," he said. "Also, receiving the scholarship was a big help. I have learned so much in these past three months that it's unbelievable."
Eastman gives scholarships to about 25 area high school seniors yearly who enroll at the Marshall campus to pursue electrical and maintenance work, welding or technology. Eastman's student support continues with a summer internship if they maintain a 3.0 grade point average, completed at least two semesters and have good attitudes and people skills.
"They get a lot of hands-on and life experience and they will hire most of the students that are doing an internship," said Jimmie Wilson, an instructor of Industrial Controls Technology at TSTC in Marshall.
Underwood said he has been pleased with the quality of TSTC students and graduates who have gone on to work at Eastman.
"Overall, we are happy with the program in Marshall," Underwood said. "Jimmie Wilson worked at Eastman for more than 30 years and he is one of the best electricians that have been in our plant. He turns out very high quality electricians and instrumentation people."
Skinner, a graduate of Hughes Springs High School, became interested in the electrical field after working on small wiring projects.
"All of the people at Eastman are really supportive and aren't afraid to help you with any question you may have," he said.
Students interested in studying Industrial Controls Technology can pursue an associate degree at TSTC in Marshall. There is also an associate degree in Instrumentation Technology offered at TSTC in Waco.
Students can also earn one-year certificates in Industrial Electrical Systems at TSTC in North Texas, Industrial Electrical Systems at the Williamson County campus and Owens-Illinois Industrial Technician in Waco.
Eastman Chemical Co. was founded in 1920 in Kingsport, Tenn. and has more than 15,000 employees at locations in the United States, Mexico, China, Brazil, Singapore, Japan, South Korea along with several facilities in Europe. The chemical company works with clients in the transportation, construction, agriculture and industrial and chemicals processing industries.