Jesse Cisneros; Eddie Rodriguez

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – With each cut that they make and each nail that they drive, students in the Building Construction Technology program at Texas State Technical College are reaping benefits that can have a profound impact on their future careers.

Third-semester students Jesse Cisneros and Eddie Rodriguez have been learning various components involved in building a shed that is one of the program’s lab projects.

Hector Rosa, a Building Construction Technology instructor, said the objective is for students to learn some of what goes into building a residential structure.

“This pinpoints how to install a floor joist and sill plates that are designed to withstand loads of the roof and walls of a residential home,” Rosa said. “The shed’s build is broken into sections that meet our course outcomes. The project takes three semesters to complete.”

In the first semester, students concentrate on the foundation and are familiarized with the terminology of the foundation. In the second semester, they proceed with the wall and roof framing. In the third semester, students focus on applying windows, doors, roofing materials and siding.

Jesse Cisneros, of Harlingen, is studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree in the program. He said the project has been engaging.

“The part of the process I have enjoyed is placing shingles on a roof and applying the siding because everything involves a hands-on approach,” he said. “During the process, we are able to learn more from our instructors through their direction. They have assigned us a particular job so we understand what’s entailed.”

Cisneros said there are benefits that apply to his future career.

“I worked in construction this past summer in Florida, and an industry professional told me I am able to obtain a general contractor license after I earn an Associate of Applied Science degree from this program,” he said. “I am excited for what’s on the horizon, especially with the opportunities that the Building Construction Technology degree brings with potential employers.”

Eddie Rodriguez is also studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Building Construction Technology.

The Brownsville resident said he has enjoyed the multiple processes involved with the shed.

“My favorite part was trying to learn framing,” he said. “For me, it was the most difficult to figure out.”

Rodriguez said he and his classmates get to work on various aspects of projects.

“Being able to experience how everyone is progressing is ideal,” he said. “The instructors have assigned us a different role each time. The collaboration has been great with my classmates.”

Rosa said the students have faced some obstacles along the way.

“The students have measured the cutting material incorrectly, and it takes time to figure out where the mistakes were made,” he said. “By providing the students with prints, they are able to develop a plan on how to resolve the issue.”

First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers can earn an average annual salary of $62,390, according to onetonline.org, which projects these positions to grow by 23% in the state through 2030.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Building Construction Technology, a certificate of completion in Building Construction – Craftsman, and an occupational skills achievement award in Building Inspection Level 1 on its Harlingen and Waco campuses.

For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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