Current Power employee and TSTC student organized event
(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Texas State Technical College Electrical Power and Controls students recently experienced the first session in a new series aimed at more closely connecting classrooms and careers.
POWER Engineers Inc., an engineering and environmental consulting firm with offices across North America, is behind the series — as is a current TSTC student who works there.
Brandon Bozarth, who is in the process of earning an Engineering degree at TSTC, visited the Fort Bend County campus recently with his supervisor, Jeff Caraway, a senior project manager at POWER. Together, they spoke about what it takes to be a project manager — Bozarth’s job title at POWER is testing supervisor and project manager — as well as other career pathways that TSTC Electrical Power and Controls graduates could pursue with their degrees.
Project managers have to speak many different “languages.” For example, a client, construction crew member and project engineer may talk about the same idea in three different ways, and the project manager should be fluent in each.
Project managers also manage relationships amid all the moving parts of a project, including sticking to a budget and meeting deadlines — and expectations.
If students are highly organized, good communicators, team players and have thick skins, then this could be a role they would excel in, Bozarth said.
And if this is not a position that piques their interests, then there are plenty of other entry-level routes they can choose from, including becoming a project engineer, as Jonathan Bonkoske, now TSTC’s lead instructor of Electrical Power and Controls, once did.
“This is incredible — real good experience and insight into a company,” he said. “All companies have something of this structure. This is a company that you could spend a career life at. There are a lot of opportunities.”
While POWER participated in TSTC’s recent Fall 2021 Virtual Industry Job Fair, the purpose of this series is not to recruit.
“This is student to student,” said Bozarth, who is also TSTC’s statewide Student Government Association president. “Take this knowledge and apply it. When I got hired at POWER, Jeff expressed an interest in making new folks coming into industry better with knowledge. We’ve worked together to bring this program to you.”
Caraway did take a moment to impart some advice on the kinds of employees his company is looking for.
“What we want is hard workers with the ability to learn and the drive to not be a technician forever,” he said. “We want you to be a sponge. Learn as much as you can in (TSTC’s) curriculum. The foundation is so good here that we can fill in the blanks after.”
In addition to the Fort Bend County campus, TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Electrical Power and Controls at its Abilene, North Texas and Waco campuses.
Electrical technicians can earn an average annual salary of $69,310 in Texas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of technicians is projected to grow by 8% in the state through 2028, according to onetonline.org.
The opportunities in this field are many, including positions in manufacturing, engineering, oil fields and many more industries. That is why the Electrical Power and Controls program is part of TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee. TSTC expects participating graduates to get hired in a job in this field within six months of earning their degrees. If they do not, the college will refund their tuition.
Registration for the spring semester is underway. For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.