Teresa Purcell (left), a TSTC Occupational Safety and Environmental Compliance instructor in Abilene, helps a Springtown High School senior try on a gas mask during an open house event at TSTC’s Breckenridge campus.

(ABILENE, Texas) – High school students from throughout West Texas learned about career opportunities available to Texas State Technical College graduates during the spring open house events in March.

The four TSTC campuses in West Texas — Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater — hosted open house events to showcase the programs available at each location, as well as the many online TSTC programs.

“The open houses allowed our faculty and staff to talk directly to high school students who are interested in the programs we have available at TSTC,” said Andy Weaver, provost of the West Texas campuses. “It was wonderful to see the excitement of the students as they visited each program, and with many making decisions to attend TSTC after high school.”

Four Snyder High School students enrolled after touring the Industrial Maintenance lab in Abilene and talking with instructor Daniel Diaz. Esteban Cabrera said he liked how Diaz took the time to talk to him and his classmates.

“I liked how Daniel runs the program and showed us how everything works,” Cabrera said. “He is a real motivator and the reason why I decided to enroll in the program.”

Iker Jaimes said he enrolled in Industrial Systems because it will give him different career options.

“I like the diversity of the program because it does not just focus on lineworker or wind jobs,” he said. “If I do not like what I am doing in one area, this will allow me to do something else. I was really surprised by all the things we will be able to do when we finish the program.”

Educating his students about the diversity of job opportunities that are available to TSTC graduates was the goal for Chris Jalomo, Snyder High School’s welding teacher.

“Many of these students do not know what they want to do,” he said. “They were eating it up when Daniel was talking about career options.”

Jalomo, who spent 21 years working as a welder, said TSTC provides students with a good way to learn.

“The hands-on work is the best way to learn. There is only so much you can learn from the computer or books in the trades,” he said. “This is the way for many people to learn a skill.”

Rudy Leal, a welding teacher at Throckmorton Independent School District, had a similar view of the open house event.

“I wanted to give our students different options about careers,” he said. “Some of the kids are going to do HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), but seeing the programs available will give them a chance to explore another career.”

Daniel Martin, TSTC’s director of student recruitment in West Texas, said the open house events will continue to be held at the four campuses in the future.

“This was a great opportunity for high school students to see what TSTC really has to offer,” he said. “Everyone we have talked to is pleased with being able to talk to our instructors one-on-one in the lab setting.”

Ethan Brown, a student recruitment representative based in Breckenridge, said he was happy to see students attend at each campus.

“I was happy that so many people decided to tour our campuses, including the smaller campuses we have in West Texas,” he said. “A lot of the kids showed interest in the programs we have, and I hope that will lead to more attending TSTC in West Texas.”

For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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