(SWEETWATER, Texas) – After touring Texas State Technical College’s Sweetwater campus, Shayne Howard found a program especially well suited for him.
“I toured each of the programs in Sweetwater, and after visiting with the instructors and seeing what was available, I knew this was the program for me,” Howard said of his decision to pursue an Associate of Applied Science degree in TSTC’s Wind Energy Technology program.
The Seminole native’s path to school became easier, financially, when he received a Metallica Scholars Initiative (MSI) scholarship through All Within My Hands, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band Metallica’s foundation.
“If it was not for Metallica and the scholarship opportunity, I would not be in class today,” he said. “When I heard I received the scholarship, I was able to relax about finances and knew I would be able to concentrate on my studies.”
Howard finds that TSTC’s teaching style suits him well.
“I prefer the hands-on style of learning,” he said. “I know that larger colleges would not provide this style of learning. Our instructors make sure we are where we need to be before we move to the next area. That is why I know I am on the right path.”
James Chung, a TSTC Wind Energy Technology instructor, said Howard has quickly become a class leader.
“After the recent health fair, Shayne saw that everyone was putting things away,” Chung said. “He suggested that we go and help the staff. That shows his leadership skills. He is very generous with his time, and it shows by his work in the classroom.”
Howard said that each time he walks into a lab session, he gets excited about what is to come.
“I like to know how things work and how they move,” he said. “I am a very technical person, so this is why I enjoy going to class.”
Howard remembers hearing some of Metallica’s biggest hits during his workouts. Knowing that he could be part of the inaugural Metallica Scholars class at the Sweetwater campus led to his decision to submit an application.
“I looked at the information on the TSTC website and thought it was cool that the band is helping college students,” he said. “It is great that the band is helping students reach their goals.”
MSI was launched in 2019 by All Within My Hands in partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges. MSI supports 42 community colleges across 33 states. By the end of this year, it will have helped more than 6,000 students pursuing careers in the trades.
The job outlook for the wind energy industry is bright. According to onetonline.org, the need for wind turbine service technicians in Texas was forecast to increase 102% from 2020 to 2030. The average annual salary for a technician in Texas is $56,640, according to the website.
TSTC’s Wind Energy Technology program offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and a certificate of completion at the Harlingen and Sweetwater campuses.
Registration for TSTC’s spring semester is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.