(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Frankie Gonzales said his educational experience at Texas State Technical College has exceeded all of his expectations.
The Wind Energy Technology student will graduate with an Associate of Applied Science degree in the spring, knowing he will be ready to work.
“My time at TSTC has been so fulfilling,” he said. “It is reassuring for me that TSTC does so much more than teach you about your industry. The school does everything to help students get a job.”
Gonzales, of Sterling City, said with graduation in sight, he pays attention to what the instructors have to say and when TSTC industry partners talk to students.
“The employer spotlights are the best part about the program,” he said. “It gives me a chance to learn about all of the different opportunities available.”
While Gonzales wants to be able to travel, his instructor Billie Jones knows he will succeed, no matter where he works.
“If you need anything done, all you have to do is ask him,” she said. “If I need someone to help lead the class, the first person I look at is him.”
Gonzales’ work ethic began early and matured as he grew. He obtained the rank of Eagle Scout in 2018, with his final project being the construction of community benches around a river in Mertzon.
“I just wanted to give people a place to sit along the river,” he said. “It taught me the value of community and helping others.”
Gonzales first learned of the wind industry from the spouse of a high school teacher.
“My teacher told me a lot of the things he did. I found it very interesting,” he said. “(Her husband) told me he could get me to work immediately.”
Instead, Gonzales decided to enroll at TSTC to learn more about the wind industry.
“Frankie is going to have a bright future in this field,” instructor Russell Benson said. “One of his best qualities is that he has awesome people skills.”
Gonzales said TSTC’s instructors make class fun and sometimes competitive.
“I am very competitive, so I will work to be on top,” he said. “No matter what we are doing, I want to be the best.”
During his time in the program, Gonzales has learned different aspects of the wind industry that he did not know much about before he enrolled. He credits his instructors for providing him with additional knowledge.
“I really enjoyed learning more about the electricity aspect of the program,” he said. “The hands-on style we are able to complete projects with has been the best.”
Gonzales also learned that climbing the wind turbine tower was “easier than I thought.”
“It was a lot of fun to be able to climb for the first time,” he said. “I know that is an important aspect of the industry.”
The job outlook for the wind energy industry is bright. According to onetonline.org, the need for wind turbine service technicians in Texas will increase 83% by 2028. The average annual salary for a technician in Texas is $51,560, 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 the fall semester is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.