(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Bryce Block is taking the skills he is learning inTexas State Technical College’s Automotive Technology program home with him on weekends.
Block, of Wall, is working to restore a Chevrolet Camaro while studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree at TSTC. He said he enjoys learning the new skills in order to rebuild the car quicker.
“I have used some of the skills I have learned to work on my car at home,” he said. “The more I learn, the more I will be able to do my own restoration.”
One of the first assignments during class was patching a tire. He completed the project, which instructor William Parker said was done well.
“I have not been able to do tire patching at home, so this was a very helpful assignment for me,” Block said.
Over the next few months, the curriculum will cover other areas that Block finds interesting.
“I am ready to get into the electrical systems because it is going to be helpful on my Camaro,” he said. “Another thing I am looking forward to is engine repairs. I have not done that before. I know it can be a challenge, but I will work hard to make sure I can do it well.”
Block said he likes the performance-based education model being used in TSTC’s Automotive Technology program. In this model, students work with an enrollment coach to develop a schedule in two-hour time blocks. Lectures, videos and other learning content is on Canvas, a learning management system. Instructors also do mini-lectures during the day, with tests being demonstration-based, online or written.
“It was challenging at first, but performance-based education has become an easier way to complete our tasks,” he said. “I am able to work on a specific area and master it before moving on to something more difficult.”
Parker said the performance-based education aspect was easy for Block to pick up.
“He is eager to learn and wants to make sure he is able to do the work,” he said. “I see a lot of growth potential in him as he moves through each aspect of the program. He works to apply himself to each task.”
Block’s interest in automobiles came naturally.
“I was raised around mechanics and farmers, and we always worked on vehicles,” he said. “It was natural for me to choose this industry.”
The need for qualified automotive service technicians and mechanics is expected to grow in Texas over the next several years. According to onetonline.org, Texas employs more than 55,000 of these technicians around the state, and that number is forecast to top 61,000 by 2030. The average annual salary for a technician in the state is $46,680.
Block’s goal is to learn as much as he can in order to work for a NASCAR team.
“I have my own drag car, and that is my real interest,” he said. “I hope to one day work for a NASCAR team because it is an exciting field. I want to learn as much as I can from as many people as possible so I can be successful.”
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Automotive Technology and an Automotive Technician certificate of completion at the Harlingen, Sweetwater and Waco campuses. Several other certificates, including Automotive Maintenance and Light Repair, Chrysler Specialization and Tesla START Technician, as well as a Basic Automotive occupational skills achievement award, are also available depending on campus location.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.