(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Texas State Technical College recently welcomed around 20 high school counselors and career and technical education teachers from across the Rio Grande Valley to immerse themselves in some of the college’s technologies and hands-on labs during TECHcelerate, a three-day technical education conference held at TSTC’s Harlingen campus.
Kadie Svrcek, TSTC’s statewide dual enrollment executive director, said TECHcelerate was designed to bring better awareness of how a technical education at TSTC can lead to good job opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley and across the state.
“What we teach at TSTC supports local industries and gets more graduates hired in the Texas workforce,” she said. “This technical education needs to begin with younger age groups because there is a skills gap in Texas. Having this conference for career and technical educators is an ideal starting point to get that message across.”
Alex Salinas, a higher education coordinator at San Benito High School, said participating in each program’s hands-on training was engaging.
“I definitely enjoyed our visit to the Electrical Lineworker program,” he said. “When they asked for volunteers, I wanted to put myself in their (the students’) shoes. I wanted to experience what a professional lineman does for a living. Now I can elaborate in detail about my experience at TSTC with the students at San Benito High School.”
Selene Garcia, a health science teacher at Hanna Early College High School, said she was impressed by the instructors’ passion.
“The TSTC instructors conveyed that their students feel part of a family,” she said. “I was impressed to see that the equipment being used to train students is up to date. Everyone that we have interacted with at TSTC has made us feel welcome.”
She added that her favorite hands-on training experience was in the Biomedical Equipment Technology program.
“We were asked to solder a jitterbug, and it had to be precise,” she said. “The objective was to make the jitterbug’s lights turn on.”
Ray Longoria, the Biomedical Equipment Technology program director, explained what a jitterbug is.
“It’s a simple circuit to help students learn and practice their soldering skills,” he said. “If completed correctly, the LEDs will light up and move about the surface. It’s a great way to have the student understand the concept of heat control, or they will damage the electronic components.”
Elena Ortiz, a teacher at Lopez Early College High School, said TECHcelerate gave participants the chance to become students again and experience what it feels like to enter college for the first time.
“It’s great to learn what the students are getting out of these opportunities that TSTC offers,” he said.
At the event’s conclusion, a graduation ceremony was held for the participants.
To learn more about the technical education conference, visit tstc.edu/TECHcelerate.
Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.