(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Kelly Gomez is a Houston native attending Texas State Technical College at the Fort Bend County campus. Her family has a history in the technical job field, a legacy that she hopes to continue. She is a second-semester student studying Electrical Lineworker and Management Technology.
When Gomez was looking for a place to further her education after high school, she knew she wanted to go into electrical utility work. Her uncle and dad were both mechanics, and her mom and stepdad worked in restoration and painting.
“Nobody had ever done electrical,” she said. “So I said, ‘Why not go for electrical lineworking?’”
Gomez had done a lot of research while trying to find a college or university that would allow her to gain the education she wanted, but she couldn’t find a location that was close to home and affordable. In talking with a couple of friends, however, she discovered that they had attended the lineworker program at TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus.
“I didn’t know they had come to TSTC in Rosenberg,” Gomez said. “I thought it was only in Waco. When I saw that they offered both a certificate and an associate degree, that was what attracted me most to TSTC.”
Heading into the program, Gomez knew that she would be one of the only females in a traditionally male-dominated field. But after some initial nervousness, she has taken it in stride.
“The program has been awesome so far,” Gomez said. “The instructors — I love and appreciate them. They really help me out a lot and motivate me. All the guys I go to school with too are like brothers.”
She encourages other women to pursue their dream if they are thinking about entering a technical job.
“I would say just go for it,” said Gomez. “I was nervous at first, but after that first day it is like home. All the instructors are welcoming. People treat me just the same as everyone else.”
Gomez is working toward both a certificate of completion and an associate degree. When she finishes her education, her goal is to begin working for one of the various utility companies in the Houston area.
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and a certificate of completion in Electrical Lineworker and Management Technology at the Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Marshall and Waco campuses. The program is one of nine Money-Back Guarantee programs in which tuition is refunded if the participating graduate has not found employment in their field of study within six months after graduation.
According to onetonline.org, electrical power-line installers and repairers in Texas can earn a median salary of $63,770 a year. The website projected that there would be a 24% increase in the number of such jobs in the state from 2020 to 2030.
For more information about TSTC, go to tstc.edu.