gulf coast

(BRECKENRIDGE, Texas) – William Briggs is setting his sights on the Texas Gulf Coast.

The Texas State Technical College Welding Technology student plans to complete his certificate of completion in Structural Welding in order to work for his friends on the coast.

“I have a bunch of buddies on the coast who own boats and trailers. They do not have anyone who can weld for them,” he said. “I want to learn as much as I can so I can be their primary welder.”

Briggs, who is from Harper near Fredericksburg, once lived in the Gulf Coast region of Texas. He would like to return there to begin his career.

“I enjoy the coastal area. Being able to do something I enjoy and live there will be great,” he said.

TSTC Welding Technology instructor Stephen Hope said Briggs will be successful wherever he works.

“I am very impressed with his mannerisms in the lab,” Hope said. “He holds his own in class, and it shows in his dedication.”

Briggs lives with his grandparents near Possum Kingdom Lake while attending school and working two jobs, one as a welder and the other at a ranch.

“That proves he is a dedicated person,” Hope said. “He knows what he needs to do when he is in the lab and what has to be done to take care of himself.”

Briggs’ path to TSTC began with researching schools after he graduated from high school last spring.

“I did not want to take any time off after I finished high school,” he said. “I was looking at different trade schools and learned TSTC in Breckenridge would begin classes in the summer. That was the key for me.”

During the summer semester, Briggs learned that Hope is more than just an instructor.

“Stephen and all of the students make a connection that is unique,” he said. “He is more than an instructor to us. He takes the time to learn more about us so we can be successful.”

Briggs enjoys listening to Hope talk about his experiences in the welding industry, taking that information to heart when it comes to envisioning his own career.

“Stephen has been telling us about his experience working on pipes in the field,” he said. “I make sure to listen because that is something I might be doing in the future.”

Practicing the art of tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding is making Briggs a better welder. He credits practice and Hope’s experience for his improvements.

“TIG welding was pretty difficult at first,” he said. “But with a lot of practice, I can see my work getting better. The more I practice, I know it will come natural to me.”

Briggs said knowing the art of TIG welding will help him work on boats and trailers.

“I will be using that experience when I get to work on the coast,” he said. “It is important to know as much about welding techniques as possible because you do not know what you will encounter on the job.”

According to onetonline.org, welders can earn a yearly median salary of more than $47,000 in Texas. Welding jobs were expected to increase 23% between 2020 and 2030 in the state, according to the website.

TSTC offers Welding Technology at each of its 10 campuses located throughout Texas.

Welding 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 on the Money-Back Guarantee program, visit https://www.tstc.edu/admissions/tuition/.

Registration is underway for TSTC’s spring semester. For more information, visit tstc.edu.

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