(HARLINGEN, Texas) – There is an artistry that goes into the job of a machinist, and that caught the eye of Rene Garay Jr.
Garay is studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Precision Machining Technology at Texas State Technical College’s Harlingen campus.
Two years ago he was first introduced to machining by his uncles Noe and Javier Sauceda, who are 2002 graduates of the same program.
The parts that his uncles created inspired Garay to follow in their footsteps.
“Their work was detailed with precise measurements, and it looked amazing,” Garay said. “I enjoy being creative, and this type of work caught my interest. It involves great focus, knowledge of math, and an art that goes into being a machinist. (My uncles) said there’s great pay in the field, so I enrolled.”
Now in his third semester at TSTC, Garay said his program requires much concentration when working on lab projects.
“The product I’m creating needs to be of great quality, or it cannot be used,” he said. “I can make any minor mistake now, but the point is to have precise measurements. My favorite hands-on assignment has been making a depth rod adjustment screw. It has different operations such as facing, turning, threading and knurling. It’s a challenging operation because you need to be focused on timing and releasing.”
He said his instructors have taught him valuable lessons.
“I’ve learned that safety leads to creating a great product, and your work area should be safe,” he said. “They taught me how critical thinking, troubleshooting, problem-solving, taking risks, collaborating with your team, being open to suggestions and seeing the bigger picture will help out any person who is passionate about this field.”
Garay said his family is his motivation to succeed.
“My baby motivates me to keep growing at my craft,” he said. “I want to have a productive career, and I’m in the steps to accomplish that.”
Francisco Garcia, TSTC’s Precision Machining Technology program director in Harlingen, said Garay’s work ethic and performance in class are impressive.
“Rene is dedicated to our program,” he said. “He is doing a great job in advancing through the courses. Once he completes an assignment, he works on a personal project to improve his craft. He also helps other students who need assistance. That experience is preparing him for the industry.”
According to onetonline.org, CNC (computer numerical control) tool programmers earn an average of $61,740 per year in Texas, where the number of such jobs was projected to increase 47% from 2020 to 2030.
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and a certificate of completion in Precision Machining Technology, as well as a certificate of completion in Machining, at its East Williamson County, Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas and Waco campuses. A Basic Machining occupational skills achievement award is available at the Fort Bend County, Marshall and Waco campuses.
Precision Machining Technology is one of nine programs at TSTC that have money-back guarantees. The college’s commitment to participating students is simple: If they do not have a job in their field within six months of graduation, they will receive a full refund of their tuition. For more information, visit tstc.edu/mbg.
Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.